On the Horizon: Google “Focusing” in on Health and Biometrics
First came Google Glass and now…Google Contacts?! Google, ruler of the web, is soon to extend its dynasty in the most logical of places: eye accessories. The tech giant recently revealed that it’s developing contact lenses that can do insane things your current astigmatism-correcting lenses could never dream of. Do your lenses have night vision? What about monitoring what’s in your blood levels? That’s really what this experiment is about. Marrying health, technology and (let’s hope) some fashion. A billion dollar idea to be sure.
In its first public announcement about this project published earlier this year, the Mountain View company released news of a digitally-enabled contact lens that is able to measure the glucose levels in your tears, then send it via embedded eye-antenna (which is as weird to think of as it sounds) to a point where the data can be stored and analyzed. This is a HUGE opportunity for wearer and maker, considering the magnitude of the current diabetes epidemic in this country. With some 30m Americans suffering from the incurable disease, imagine corrective lenses monitoring glucose levels in your tears, taking the pin prick out of monitoring blood sugar levels and creating a whole new class of “smart wear.”
Now that Google is dabbling in eye-wear, soon the days of wearing contact lenses just for “seeing” are over. But if we are skeptical of Google knowing our search history, how can we make the leap of faith to allow it to get access to medical records? Google has said that this data would not be co-mingled with other information it has gathered on you in different places on servers, but clearly privacy and data usage will be major points of discussion as the product gets closer to reality.
For Early Adopters
Google’s smart contact lens is still in the early stages of clinical research, and this product has to get through many hurdles, including FDA approval. So Contacts “MADE BY GOOGLE” may be years off, but it shows you where things are headed. Google also says they are actively looking for partners “who are experts in bringing products like this to market,” so it’s entirely possible that the first smart contact lens will be released by an established brand rather than Google itself.