Google Partners With Novartis To Create World’s First Smart Contact Lens
Google and Novartis join hands to set new boundaries of wearable technology. Google’s smart contact lens technology is one step closer to reality with the company announcing its partnership with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis .
The press release stated that Novartis’s Alcon unit will work with Google’s secretive Google X division on lenses with non-invasive sensors, microchips and embedded miniaturized electronics to monitor insulin levels for people with diabetes, or to restore the eye’s natural focus in people who can no longer read without glasses. No terms of the deal are yet disclosed.
Google said it hoped the technology would help diabetics around the world by removing the need to perform regular, painful blood tests. Novartis has said that in addition to helping diabetics manage their disease, it is hoped that the technology can also be modified to help those suffering from vision loss that occurs with age.
Novartis’ CEO Joe Jimenez identified eye care as one of three key divisions, along with branded and generic drugs, in announcing a $28.5 billion restructure of the company in April that involved selling off the vaccines and animal-health units and buying GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s cancer business.
“The promise here is the Holy Grail of vision care, to be able to replicate the natural functioning of the eye,” Jimenez said. “Think about a contact lens that could help the eye autofocus on that newspaper and then when you look up it would autofocus in the distance.This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.”
The smart contact lens technology were originally developed by Google X, the “audacious” research and development lab that is responsible for the company’s self-driving cars, internet weather-balloons and Google Glass.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said: “Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people. We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.”