Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) latest research projects bring wearable tech as close as possible to the human eye. So far, the company is working on a miniature camera and a glucose-monitoring contact.
Google plans to create the stuff of Torchwood and other science-fiction works in its latest patent application, part of its smart contact lens project, with a pair of contact lenses with miniature cameras embedded into them.
The tech giant filed for a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to a miniaturized camera that will be able to take video. Google has become interested in the technology as an extension of the camera technology on the wearable Google Glass, TechCrunch reported in its news brief on the patent application. Only this time, the camera would be mounted on the cornea via the contact lenses.
The patent application became public last week, opening the floodgates of speculation to potential uses for such a tiny camera.
Patent Bolt speculated that it could be used in future Android devices and perhaps a contact-lens version of Google Glass when the initial announcement that Google was developing smart contact lenses was made in March. The publication released an extensive report on the device patent Sunday, which went into how a wearer could control the device as he or she wore it.
“Today’s new patent revelations cover the integration of tiny cameras into their future smart contact lenses. The user will be able to control the camera through a sophisticated system using the owner’s unique blinking patterns,” said Patent Bolt in the piece.
These tiny cameras would be able to function much like a normal camera, except without needing to bring an SD card or to charge the batteries. It would be able to focus, take images, and store them on the device. They would also be designed to not block the wearer’s vision.
This is not Google’s first foray into modifying contact lenses. In January, a post on Google’s official blog talked about developing a pair of contact lenses that could monitor blood glucose levels, making them useful for diabetics, who need to regularly monitor their blood sugar. Like the camera contact lenses, these are part of Google’s smart contact lens project.
Google said in its post that while the glucose-monitoring lenses are in the midst of testing, the contacts would not be able on the market anytime soon.
“We’re in discussions with the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], but there’s still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use. We’re not going to do this alone: we plan to look for partners who are experts in bringing products like this to market,” the company wrote.
These and the camera contact lenses are among the first smart contact lenses being developed by Google. No news of other similar devices have been announced.