Google is developing a smart contact lens, with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, to help patients manage diabetes – in one of a number of moves focused squarely on billions of dollars of potential revenue available across the total digital healthcare market.
As technology moves further into treatment with remote consultations, monitoring and operations, robotic treatments, and advanced digital diagnosis, Google has seen the opportunity to apply its own eyewear technology (up until now limited as glasses called Google Glass) to the healthcare field.
Google’s 3D mobile technology and its offering around health record digitization form potential other strands of its expansion in the health market. Last month, it released the Google Fit platform to track exercise and sleep, among other health factors – but it is far from alone, as Apple and Samsung offer similar systems in that area.
Today, under a new development and licensing deal between Google and the Alcon eyewear division at Novartis, the two companies said they will create a smart contact lens that contains a low power microchip and an almost invisible, hair-thin electronic circuit. The lens can measure diabetics’ blood sugar levels directly from tear fluid on the surface of the eyeball. The system sends data to a mobile device to keep the individual informed.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company wanted to use “the latest technology in ‘minituarisation’ of electronics” in order to improve people’s “quality of life”.