Google awarded patent for solar powered smart lens

Design for smart contact lens could capture biological information such as internal temperature or blood alcohol level from the wearer, and ‘retinal analysis’ could be a possibility

20 Oct 2015 by Ryan O'Hare

Google has been awarded a patent in the US for a contact lens powered by light.

While the word on the web is that the tech giant, which now sits under company Alphabet, aims to create a solar powered contact lens which could capture a range of data from the wearer.

The patent application outlines plans for a lens with embedded photodetectors to “harvest light” emitted from a source, in order to generate power. Sensors included in the design could be capable of capturing a range of biological information from the wearer, such as internal temperature and even blood alcohol levels. It also suggests “retinal analysis” of the wearer could be a possibility.

The photodetector and microcircuitry within the contact lens could potentially use light as a power source. Any data captured from the wearer could then be wirelessly transferred to a ‘reader,’ which could potentially include a smartphone.

Google first announced its plans to develop smart contact lenses last year, which includes a partnership with Swiss pharma giant Novartis to develop lenses capable of monitoring sugar levels in the wearer’s tears, aimed at diabetic patients.

Last month, it emerged that Novartis expects to begin testing of an accommodative smart lens for prebyopia in 2016, taking the form of either a contact lens or intraocular lens.

Image credit: Google; Google / US Patent and Trademark Office

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