Google, Novartis team-up over smart contact lens

The technology offers potential to transform eye care, but there's a long road ahead before we see the smart lens hitting a pharmacy near you.

Google, Novartis team-up over smart contact lens

Google and Novartis have announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of the smart contact lens, which was unveiled by Google X in January. Relying on non-invasive sensors, the lens will be able to analyze tear fluid in the eye to provide measurements of a person's blood glucose levels and beam that information to a mobile device. This in turn will help diabetics manage their disease more easily.

Beyond diabetes, Novartis will also explore the use of a smart lens to "restore the eye's natural autofocus."Novartis has licensed the technology through its eye-care subsidiary Alcon, and will be working to develop it into a commercial product.

Beyond diabetes, the company will also explore the use of a smart lens to "restore the eye's natural autofocus" by implanting the lens directly into the eye.

Commenting on the deal, Novartis' CEO Joseph Jimenez said they are looking to "meet unmet medical needs," adding that this is a "key step" to go "beyond the confines of traditional disease management."

Finally, it's worth adding that there's a long road ahead for Novartis to turn Google's technology into a real-world product. In the meantime, we've seen the search giant obtaining patents for an even smarter lenses, one that could boast a camera and perform some of the Glass functions.

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