There’s the smart phone, the smart tablet, and now, the smartwatch is on the rise. Google’s been a latecomer to the smartwatch game, announcing its own Android Wear smartwatch platform at Google I/O 2014 just weeks ago (June).
Google’s even got its own smart glasses, known as Google Glass. The company’s making strides to make computers more wearable and fashionable than ever before – but the work of the smart fashion accessory isn’t yet done.
Today, Google’s teaming up with the Novartis Alcon eyewear division to create another smart eye accessory – the smart contact lens.
The smart contact lens created by Google and the Novartis eyewear division will be used to do two things. First, it’s designed to help diabetes patients with determining their blood glucose levels. Currently, many diabetes patients use devices that require them to prick their blood in order to determine their blood sugar levels on a daily basis. The Google-Alcon/Novartis smart contact lens will allow an individual’s tears to fall on the contact lens, sending the blood glucose information to an individual’s smartphone.
Next, the Google and Alcon eyewear smart contact lens will be used to improve the vision experience of the visually impaired. The smart contact lens will operate similar to a camera with a digital zoom that allows you to get close and personal on objects that you want to see. The smart contact lens would compensate for an individual’s vision challenges when the individual is far away if he or she is extremely nearsighted, for example. Smart contact lens users wouldn’t need reading glasses if they are farsighted and struggle to read up-close.
Google’s secret X lab has been known to work on its Wi-Fi balloons, driverless cars, and other projects, and the same X lab team will work on the smart contact lens project as well.
As to when we can expect to see smart contact lenses emerge on the market, Google and Novartis have said that it’ll likely be five years from now. While Google and Novartis figure out how to read blood glucose levels with tear fluid, Samsung just may beat the company to the punch. If the Korean manufacturer’s eye scanner works as intended, Samsung may indeed have a blood glucose monitor baked into its Galaxy software experience for the Note 4 announcement in September.
Along with the Android Wear platform, Google also released an Android Wear app at the Google Play Store that must be downloaded onto one’s phone before users can pair their Android Wear smartwatch with their smartphone. Google Fit has also been announced as an app that allows you to track your calories, distance, and other health information. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live are currently available Android Wear smartwatches, but the Moto 360 smartwatch will be available by summer’s end – and ASUS plans to release its $99 OLED smartwatch (name unknown) this Fall.