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 Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.
Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.
Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution
Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada
Now, journalists can't even say her name.
Lena Dunham, the Book
More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.