Earlier this year, Google announced ambitions to make "smart" contact lenses. This week the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted the Mountain View, Calif. company a patent describing a sensor in a lens that could monitor glucose, among other things. Novartis confirmed a partnership with Google in July 2014, to make a glucose-monitoring contact lens for diabetics.
Google's patent abstract describes contact lenses and methods for manufacturing contact lenses. The method requires a surface, or substrate, with an uneven surface that connects a sensor at one end and a semiconductor chip at another. It will require encapsulating the substrate, sensor and chip in a polymer to avoid scratching the eye. A ring-shaped substrate would curve with the eye.
The life-saving lens took one step closer to reality and another step to support healthcare. While Novartis confirmed a partnership with Google in July 2014, to make a glucose-monitoring contact lens for diabetics, the smart contact lens could be used for so much more than monitoring glucose levels. Take the reboot of Google Glass, for example.
The combination of Google Glass and Google's smart lens could monitor many healthcare issues, as well as providing physicians with needed relief. Northwestern University released a study suggesting that when physicians spend too much time looking at a computer screen in the exam room, their ability to listen and solve problems suffers. Google Glass could help to collect data and update important information through conversations between doctor and patient, rather than doctors inputting information into a computer.