At first, we were excited to hear that Google was finally developing a smart contact lens. At last, we thought, we’ll be able to get all the benefits of Google Glass without looking like a complete and utter ass hat.
But sadly, you won’t be able to use Google’s new lenses for finding the nearest Jewish deli or detecting your whiny girlfriend’s emotions. They’re actually only meant for people with diabetes, and are designed to read the user’s blood sugar by measuring the glucose levels in their tears.
The project’s cofounders, Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, wrote on Google’s blog:
We’re now testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds.
Nah, we’re not huge jerk heads. Currently, people with diabetes have to prick their fingers multiple times a day to test their blood sugar levels, which really stinks. We can imagine the measuring process would be much less disruptive if it occurred quietly and automatically within their eye juices.
The lens is still in its prototype phase, and isn’t available on the market quite yet. It won’t be the first smart contact lens to hit the market, but it’ll be the first one specifically designed for diabetics.
Here’s an AP video about the new lenses: