Alcon, the eye-care division of pharmaceutical giant Novartis International AG, will work closely with Google to make the smart lenses that measure glucose levels in diabetics a real thing.
Novartis and Google don’t only wish to create a final form of the smart contact lens, but they also wish to commercialize it. This proves that when the search giant has a great idea, but can’t do everything on its own, it relies on strategic partnerships with companies that have a lot of experience in the field of interest. The collaboration of these two companies was announced on Wednesday, but it’s currently unknown when the final product will hit the market.
Jeff George, division head of Alcon, stated that “We aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world.” Back in January, when I first wrote about Google’s smart contact lenses, the plan was to use these for measuring the glucose levels of diabetics. Now it’s obvious that the number of possible applications has increased.
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez explained the true potential of the smart contact lenses: “The promise here is the holy grail of vision care, to be able to replicate the natural functioning of the eye. 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.”
Jill Weisenberger, a certified diabetes educator, pointed out that “If it is accurate and affordable, it could be an absolute game changer.” These aspects aside, the smart contact lens developed by Google and Novartis could definitely prove convenient, as diabetics wouldn’t have to carry glucose meters with them all the time, nor would they need to prick their fingers on a daily basis in order to assess that vital factor.
It would be great if Google Contact (please, oh, please come up with a better name than this!) got all the functionality of Google Glass. POV videos would really be shot from the perspective of the person wearing the smart contact lens. The problem would be the location where such videos were stored, but I’m sure that Google will find a solution to this.
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