Saturday, 26 July 2014

Get your Eyes Ready for Google Smart Lens!

Google Smart Lens
Over the past few years, Google has exponentially increased its footprints in the field of ubiquitous computing and wearable/embedded technology – a move that is in line with its look towards the future strategy. Google X Project will now collaborate with Alcon (a Novartis child) to bring smart lens to the consumer market. Alcon produces some of the most wide-selling contact lens products including the likes of Air Optix, FreshLook and Dailies. And now both will lock-step to work together to materialize the product. The deal is almost complete, though financial details were not disclosed; only anti-trust approval remains left for the transaction.

What is Smart Lens? 

A product of Google research, smart lenses look like traditional lenses but have embedded miniature electronic circuits in them running sophisticated software, which makes them “smart”. This merger will see the coming together of Google’s efforts in circuit miniaturization of circuits and Novartis’s deep pharmaceuticals and medical device expertise. This technology involves non-invasive sensors and miniature microchips, which are embedded in the lens. Ophthalmic electrochemical sensors are designed to measure glucose levels and provide real-time feedback, which will be sent to your smartphone. In addition, the lens may also offer adaptive vision corrective measures for presbyopic patients.

The Aims

Novartis interest in this technology is focused currently on two key areas i.e.
• Helping diabetic patients to continuously monitor their blood glucose levels using their “smart lens” which those levels from tear fluids in eyes and then beams it to your smartphone.

• For people with presbyopia, it can provide accommodative vision correction to help restore eye’s normal focus, either as a, accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.


Smart Lens
Both Google and Alcon are expecting to break new grounds using their combined strength and help millions who suffer from diabetes. In addition, it may fit into Google’s “Android Wear” wearable device paradigm, which is rapidly gaining headways and ubiquity.

Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez hopes that the product will be out by the next 5 years.Though Alcon’s global external communications director Elizabeth Harness Murphy was quick to point out that they still don’t have exact time frames as to when it may hit the market for consumers as they are working on a prototype right now.

The Future 

With Google already making headways with its Google Glass product and other wearable technology, it was inevitable and who better then Novartis. This deal fits perfectly in Google’s scheme of things. With the rise of health conscious gadgets and many competitors slowly starting to enter the market (which also might include their fiercest rival Apple), this deal was of utmost importance.

The deal has indeed come in time when drug makers and healthcare companies are looking for modern diagnostic methods to lower the cost of chronic disease monitoring for patients. While this deal only seems to be the eye, Novartis is looking towards remote patient monitoring in heart failure.

With major giants aligning interests together, the future of wearable computing and innovative disease monitoring seems to be ushering.

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