Earlier this year Google unveiled one of its latest moonshots, an Internet-connected contact lens designed to track glucose levels for people suffering from diabetes. It looks like the search giant may have grander plans for its smart contact lens though, based on a new patent revealing plans to include a built-in micro camera in its design.
The news comes via a Patent Bolt report that details Google’s plans for the smart contact lens. Not only would each lens be able to track the world around you, but you’d actually be able to control each camera through a system of “unique blinking patterns.” That may sound completely insane, but considering some of the other stuff Google is working on it may not be too far out of reach.
Google notes than an extremely thin camera could be included without adding to the thickness of the lens, keeping it in line with traditional contacts. The camera would automatically follow the wearer’s line of sight without obstructing his or her view. The smart contact lens could even analyze and detect faces, objects, patterns and colors.
The device could also be extremely helpful for blind people. For example, the built-in camera could track when it’s safe to cross the street and then relay that information to a connected Android smartphone that would read the message out-loud.
For the most part Google’s smart contacts can do the same thing as Google Glass, though we’re still not seeing some of the more futuristic features like facial recognition just yet. The main advantage would be to replace the highly visible Google Glass design with a nearly invisible contact lens. The switch may prove difficult for anyone not used to wearing contacts, but for people who already do it could be an easy upgrade.