Google smart contact lens patent gets go-ahead

The U.S. patent office has granted search giant Google a patent for a smart contact lens featuring a chip, electric circuit and sensor technology. The patent document does not stipulate specifics on the lens' capabilities or its intended use.

Google has seven contact lens patents and at least one patent filing pending. That pending patent, which came to light last April, is reportedly for a contact lens featuring a computerized camera along with a sensor and an integrated thin silicon chip.
 
A patent report published at the time stated it was one of Google's many applications relating to "systems and/or methods for capturing image data representing a scene in a gaze of a viewer via a thin image capture component integrated on or within a contact lens, processing the image data, and employing the processed image data to perform functions locally on the contact lens or remotely on one or more remote devices."

The camera component can track and generate data of an image of a scene corresponding to the gaze of the wearer without obstructing the wearer's view, the report said.

Three months later, in mid-July 2014, Google and pharma titan Novartis announced they were teaming up to develop a smart contact lens for measuring blood sugar level using tear fluid. Google's Google[x] and Novartis' eyewear division, Alcon, are collaborating on a lens that will house a low-power microchip and a nearly discernible circuit for sending measurement data to a mobile device.

Google had announced it was working on a contact lens for measuring and monitoring glucose at the start of 2014. At that point the search giant stated the contact lens would not be available to consumers until 2019.

News of the patent being granted comes just weeks after the Senate confirmed former Google executive Michelle Lee as the new director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Lee served as Google's deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy from 2003 to 2012. She was hired on as deputy director of the patent office in 2013 after David Kappos left the agency.

For more information:
- read the patent

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