Vision for the Future: Google Files Patent for Camera Contact Lenses
It wasn’t so long ago that we first heard about Google’s Smart Contact Lens project, an effort to help those dealing with diabetes better regulate their blood sugar levels. But while we haven’t heard much of that project for a bit, yesterday news broke that Google had applied for a patent describing a method for building a camera-embedded contact lens. If you think Google Glass is a disruptive piece of technology, just wait until you hear about this.
According to a report in the LA Times, Google filed the patent back in 2012, and details the process for creating a data collecting camera that could be built into a contact lens, without making the lens much thicker than usual. The camera could take in raw data—“including light, colors, objects, faces and motion,” says the post—and then process it and deliver a heads-up display to the reader, or perhaps even transmit that data to another device, like a smartphone or smart watch.
The smarter smart lens could also conceivably provide telescopic vision, or help relay important visual information via other connected devices to the vision impaired, much like one of the the dreams for Google’s Project Tango.
As for whether or not this patent will actually find its way into a product—that may take a while, if it ever happens at all. There’s likely a good reason we’ve heard the company publicly announce the smart contact lens built to remedy the problems of diabetes sufferers, but remain silent on other applications of such a device. Chances are that Google wanted to tackle one focused goal with the smart lens and get it done right before promising the wearable of our dreams and under-delivering.
Furthermore, these are still some pretty untested waters. Google Glass in and of itself is routinely causing an uproar, with reports of people being harassed while wearing it (or being harassed by the wearers). A similarly enabled contact lens could be potentially troublesome in a society that’s already on high privacy-invasion alert. If you’re worried about someone wearing Glass snapping a photo of you without warning, just imagine how you might feel if you can’t even tell that someone’s got a camera strapped to their eyeballs.
[Source: LA Times]