Novartis, Google working on smart contact lenses

Novartis has tied up with Google and announced that its eye care division Alcon will be licensing the search giant's much-anticipated "smart lens" technology for all ocular medical uses.


Novartis has signed the deal with Google [x], a team behind the Smart Contact Lenses that Google has been developing for quite some time. Alcon, the company's eye-care subsidiary, will develop and commercialize Google's "smart lens" technology, which was revealed earlier this year.


"We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs," said Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. "This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye."


He further told Reuters: "This isn't going to happen overnight because it's a breakthrough technology. It's not months, we're probably talking about years. We would hope to be able to commercialise within about five years."


"Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people," said Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, Google. "We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true."


Under the agreement, Google[x] and Alcon will collaborate to develop a "smart lens" that could totally change how humans react and respond to health worries. One of the applications of the contact lens is to help diabetics keep a closer eye on insulin levels. The lenses have been designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device. They could also end up helping the visually-impaired see again. Novartis says non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics which are embedded within contact lenses have the potential to address ocular conditions.


Novartis further says, "For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the "smart lens" has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye's natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment."

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