Giant tech company, Google, has developed a smart glass named Google Glass. It is designed by X (previously known as Google X) and resembles a pair of eyeglasses. These glasses are able to project images onto its lens to allow the user to view them. The technology is called Augmented Reality (AR). Google started selling the prototype of the Google Glass on April 2013 in the US, but announced to stop production in January 2015.
Before announcing to stop the Google Glass production, Google announced their new project named Google Contact Lens on January 2014. This project is currently being handled by Verily.
The contact lenses main focus will be catered towards the medical field. Specifically in the treatment and monitoring of diabetic patients. It can measure the blood glucose levels in wearer’s tears. This technology consists of three parts: (i) the contact lens itself which would sense glucose levels; (ii) a “reader” which is a device that would communicate with the lenses and (iii) a user display which allows the patients and the doctors to review the result. Both reader and user display could be the same device such as a smartphone or the Google Glass.
The lens comes with a built-in miniaturized glucose sensor, a tiny wireless chip and an antenna in-between two layers of soft contact lens material. A tiny pin-hole in the lens allows tears to seep into the sensor to measure glucose levels every second in real time. The wireless antenna will act as a controller to read and analyse data to be sent to a wireless device. This device can store the processed data and send it to a display device. This communication via wireless technology is called RFID. Google also plans to add small LED lights that could light up to warn the wearer if the glucose level has gone above or below certain thresholds.
The data collected can then be used by the doctor or medical department to monitor the patients condition to prevent critical situations such as the patient falling into a diabetic coma while unsupervised.
The success of the project is yet to be ascertained. So Google have decided to add another feature to the lens by way of embedding a tiny camera in the contact lens. The aim this time, would be in assisting the blind.
The camera could be programmed to detect light, colour, object, faces and motion. Images will be processed by the camera while a super-smart microchip will then analyse the data to inform the wearer of any approaching objects.
Even though the diabetic lens and lens for the blind projects are still at the prototype stage, it has opened an avenue in the medical arena to help the blind, doctors and diabetic patients to manage their situation a little better. The technology, though still in its infancy, has given both diabetic patients and the blind, hope for a better tomorrow.
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