Google has been developing a sensor-packed contact lens for a while now, but it looks like the futuristic product may finally be getting a public release. The search giant announced a new partnership with Novartis on Tuesday, and the Swiss pharmaceutical company says it’s committed to using Google’s smart lens technology.
The intelligent contact lens will mainly be used for medical purposes, and will likely measure the wearer’s glucose level based on the fluids in their eye to provide regular updates for diabetes patients. The information can then be transmitted right to a smartphone. The lens could even help the visually impaired using a built-in auto-focus.
Unlike Google Glass, the company’s smart contact lens isn’t exactly designed for mass consumption. It’s a medical tool designed to solve specific conditions. “Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people,” said Google co-founder Sergey Brin. “We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.”
It’s worth noting that the smart contact lens was largely developed by Google X researcher Babak Parviz, who also lead development for Google Glass and left the company for Amazon this week. Google still owns the intellectual property, but we assume Parviz is working on something similar at Amazon. Microsoft also developed similar technology several years ago with Parviz’s help, though Google may be the first company that’s actually attempted to bring the technology to market.