Google revealed last January that the company was working on a “smart contact lens” project. While other researchers have been working on similar projects to produce a computer display on a contact lens, the goal of Google’s development is to measure the glucose in the wearer’s tears. This can provide continuous data about blood sugar levels for diabetics. A wireless chip embedded in the lens communicates the data to another device, such as a smartphone, and LEDs can provide early warnings if levels fall outside certain limits.
Now comes word that Google has a new partner in this effort. According to Lance Ulanoff writing for Mashable, health giant Novartis is licensing Google’s technology with the goal of turning it into a commercial product. The company’s eye care division, Alcon, hopes to develop the concepts into a variety of medical uses.
This partnership makes a great deal of sense, as Novartis and Alcon are far more experienced in navigating their way to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of medical products. While neither Google nor Alcon would speculate on how soon such a product might come to market, it has the potential of helping millions of diabetics worldwide.