Courtesy Olivia Solon, wired.co.uk
Earlier this year, Wired.co.uk wrote about Google’s invention of a smart contact lens that could monitor blood glucose levels through tear fluid. Now, the tech giant has invented another pair of lenses with an in-built camera.
The lenses were developed in the Google X laband were featured in a patent filing dating from 2012, which was recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent filing features a contact lens that includes an embedded circuit, camera and sensor. The control circuit could be linked wirelessly or via a wire to the camera and sensor. The sensor could be a light sensor, pressure sensor, temperature sensor or electrical field sensor, which may allow for people to gain a "sixth sense" of sorts.
While the project might seem a bit "out there", the technology isn’t all that far off — smart contact lenses with displays have already been tested in labs, although they’ve been a little clunky up until now. One of the key benefits of having a camera embedded in a contact lens rather than attached to the side of the head like Google Glass is that the camera frame would follow a person’s precise gaze without obstructing their view (by being placed along the edge of the lens, away from the pupil).
In the patent filing — as described in great detail over at Patent Bolt — Google points out that the lens could take raw image from a contact lens, process it and relay what it sees to a blind wearer via a different sense — perhaps an audio warning that there is a car approaching a junction, for example. There may also be the option of go-go-gadget eyes that have a zoom capability.
If these contact lenses ever do come to market, it means you can leapfrog the Glasshole stage and go straight to Lenshole. Or whatever the neologism for that will be. In the meantime you can, for one day only, join the Glass Explorer programme today (15 April).