Earlier this year, Google introduced a “smart” contact lens that can help monitor a person’s blood sugar by testing the user’s tears. Not stopping there, the company has submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) its patent application for another “smart” contact lens. This time, it’s designed to help the visually impaired via a micro camera attached to the contact lens.
Overview of the Smart Contact Lens
Google explains in its patent application that an image capture component, simply known as a camera, is attached to the contact lens and captures or records the user’s gaze. The camera will have to be attached and aligned in such a way as to not obstruct or alter the user’s sight.
The contact lens will also be able to process raw images and perform tasks locally on the device itself or interact wirelessly with a remote device.
Google notes that the sensor can capture energy either wirelessly or mechanically. The sensor can be a photodiode, a pressure sensor, a temperature sensor, a conductivity sensor, or a mechanical switch.
Uses of the Smart Contact Lens
The contact lens would help the visually impaired gain more awareness of what’s around them.
For instance, when a visually impaired person is about to cross the street, and the camera sees an incoming car, the lens will process the captured data, sends the data to a remote device, and the remote device will generate an audio message, warning the user of an incoming vehicle or that it isn’t safe to cross the street.
Users with healthy vision can also take advantage of the smart contact lens to gain improved vision by highlighting incoming objects or increasing the user’s peripheral view.
The contact lens is also reportedly capable of face recognition — a function that could be useful to professionals and law enforcers.