Google To Create A ‘Smart’ Contact Lens [Details]
From Elite Daily:
Google and Swiss drugmakers Novartis announced this morning they would be teaming up to create a contact lens that would allow diabetics to measure their blood glucose levels and the elderly to correct their vision.
The lenses for diabetics would analyze the glucose in tear fluid and relay the data to a mobile device, relieving them of having to prick their fingers multiple times a day to monitor their blood sugar.
Those for the elderly would give wearers the ability to focus in on nearby objects like a camera, curing the common syndrome known as presbyopia, in which aging eyes gradually have more trouble seeing things up close.
The sensors in the lenses have been described as “so small they look like bits of glitter,” and the antenna used to transmit the glucose levels is thinner than a strand of hair.
Novartis has licensed the technology and its eye-care subsidiary, Alcon, will make and market the lenses designed by Google X.
Google X first unveiled the lenses last January, and the announcement comes one day after one of its inventors declared he’d be leaving Google X to join Amazon.
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez said he expects the lenses to be available to the general public in five years. He told Reuters:
This really brings high-technology and combines it with biology and that’s a very exciting combination for us. I think you’re going to see more and more areas of unmet medical need where companies like Novartis are going to take a non-traditional approach to addressing those unmet needs.
Alcon is Novartis’ second largest business, generating $10.5 billion in sales in 2013.
The blood sugar-tracking market is highly profitable as well, expected to be worth over $12 billion by 2017.
The technology will not only make tracking glucose levels much easier, but also significantly reduce the cost of managing diabetes, which affects one in every 19 people on the planet.
Novartis hopes to have a prototype ready for review by early 2015.