Google and Novartis have this morning announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of the smart contact lens that was unveiled by Google X in January. Using non-invasive sensors, the lens promises to analyze tear fluid in the eye to provide constant measurements of a person's blood glucose levels. Those can then be sent wirelessly to a mobile device and help diabetics manage their disease more easily.
Novartis has now licensed the technology and, through its eye-care subsidiary Alcon, will look to develop it into a commercial product. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said that his company is "very excited to work with Novartis [on using] the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people."
Making diabetes easier to manage
Beyond the prospective benefits for diabetes sufferers, Novartis sees potential for this technology to also help "restore the eye's natural autofocus" through more advanced applications such as implanting the lens directly into the eye. Today's agreement doesn't change the fact that this is a long-term development project that will take a long time to produce results, but Google's glucose-tracking smart lens is now on a definite path to commercialization.