When Google [x]—the company’s crazy-research arm—announced a smart contact lens in January it sounded exactly like the type of awesome idea that comes out of an R&D department and then ... never goes anywhere. But this time might be different! Google and the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis announced Wednesday that they are collaborating to actually develop the lens.
Novartis is licensing the lens through its ophthalmology subsidiary Alcon. The smart contact uses teeny sensors to analyze a wearer’s tears as a way of monitoring blood glucose levels, and then the data is wirelessly transmitted to a mobile device to assist diabetes patients. In a press release, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said, “Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people.”
In addition to data tracking for diabetes patients, Novartis also hopes to develop the contact lens so that it can perform “accommodative vision correction” over time, meaning the lens could be used to restore people’s natural autofocus ability. Google did say in January that it would be looking for manufacturing partners, and now the company is actually following through. Bionic eyes, here we come.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right Target
Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks
It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is
I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights
Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.
Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.
It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
In Defense of HR
Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.