Remember our last report regarding Google's patent application for a glucose monitoring smart contact lens a few months back? Well, the company's research department didn’t just stop there with its ideas, as according to another patent application, uncovered by Patent Bolt, Google is now looking at embedding microcameras into contact lenses.
The patent filed concerns a smart lens with sensors that could be programmed to detect light, patterns of colours, objects and faces and is supposedly one of many recent applications relating to methods for integrating chips and components of various types into contact lenses.
The camera in the contact lenses would be commanded through a sophisticated system of unique blinking patterns. The camera would include features ranging from facial recognition and picture-taking to navigation. Most of the processing and display of images would probably be done on a smartphone which the device can sync to.
A possible application for the special contact lens, that contains a control circuit, a camera, and an image sensor, is said to be the potentially life-changing use for blind users. "For example, a blind person wearing Google’s contact lens with a built-in camera may be walking on a sidewalk and approaching an intersection. The analysis component of the contact lens can process the raw image data of the camera to determine … that there is a car approaching the intersection." The lenses could then issue a command through wireless capabilities to a remote device such as a smartphone to generate an audible signal to the user. Great, as long as the system elements including your smartphone don't crash, hang or run out of batteries.
The eye gadget's facial recognition technology is also said to be a feature which could to be useful for law enforcement officers checking to see if potential suspects are already on their records.
The camera-embedded lenses are said to be being developed alongside Google Glass, but as everyone knows, big tech companies patent ideas all the time, but only a fraction actually make it to shipping products. In the meantime, Google isn't thought to have any release plans for any of its smart lens products, but many clinical research studies have been carried out to gain a better understanding of their potential.