Google Shares One of their R&D Projects: Smart-Contact Lenses

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
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    With the continued miniaturization of technology comes new and intriguing applications for that technology. One of Google's big R&D projects is an excellent example of just how far we have come in this evolution. Google has managed to squeeze smart technology into a a contact lens. Now, before you start imagining HUD displays filled with web browsing projected onto your eyeballs, that isn't the application these are being designed for. These smart-contact lenses will actually be a medical tool designed to help people with diabetes.

    The smart-tech sensors embedded within these Google Eyeball Goggles, (our made-up name - not theirs), is able to measure the glucose found in tears at an incredible rate of once per second. This would prove invaluable to a diabetes sufferer by giving them the fastest most up to date info on their blood-sugar levels. It would also allow them to avoid sticking their fingers throughout the day for this same test.

    Right now the tech isn't ready for prime-time, but Google is working hard to bring it about. They plan to equip the contact lenses with tiny LEDs which can convey a warning to the wearer when their glucose has fallen or exceeded safe levels. Google is already looking for outside partners to help with the design, and they are also communicating with the FDA to make sure they follow all the necessary guidelines.
     
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  2. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    OMG. That's incredible. I can see (pardon the pun), where this could develop into lenses that can look for other "markers" that indicate a propensity toward certain illnesses, symptoms of potential onset of other medical problems. Diabetes is only the surface, though it's a HUGE application and could result in many thousands of lives saved each year, and even more prevention of other related illnesses, amputations and the like. Just in 2007 alone over 71,000 people died as a result of the underlying cause listed as Diabetes, meaning it was the catalyst that caused the death, either directly or indirectly through the failure of other organs or infections, etc. Imagine if it could detect cancer metastasizing so early that it is caught when the future life-threatening tumor is only millimeters in size or smaller! How about detecting the onset of a seizure before it happens, allowing the person about to seize to pull the car off the road or find a safe place to lay down? How about being used in fertility treatment, to tell the partner when you're most fertile, or when you've ovulated? There are literally countless possible applications for such direct, live and interactive monitoring of the human physiology.

    I can also see it moving to lenses than can focus for you, so that instead of correcting for distance and destroying reading focus, or in the case of multi-focal contacts, trying to bridge the gap by providing a blending of two focal points, the lens could instead use a sensor for orientation coupled with the information for the wearer's focal acuity at certain distances based on the angle of view (i.e. looking slightly downward to a point where the ground is 20' out), and "bend" the lens such that it would bring in the depth of field to a range covering that distance and for a few feet before and after to account for things such as objects that may be at that point in distance, such as furniture, people, animals, etc.

    Bring it on Google!
     
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  3. jkaod

    jkaod Gold Member

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    There are a lot of innovations going on right now using contact lenses. Developing an autofocus contact lens may be a stretch though. It would have to some how know if you are looking at the computer screen or just above it to look out the window or maybe just above it to check out the pretty girl across the room. Very large and sophisticated camera lenses don't do that very well, and could you imagine trying to drive a car with one of those if it didn't re-focus immediately from looking at the dashboard to down the road. To change the focus of a lens you would have to have it change the shape of the lens for a different power which would be quite a challenge on the eye. Measuring minute amounts of chemical in tears is easy compared to that. Researchers at the Univ of San Diego have developed a contact lens that can measure the eye pressure while the patient is sleeping. When that becomes available, it will be a huge help in managing glaucoma. Technology is awesome, and I'm sure Google will be involved in much of it.
    Go Google!!
     
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  4. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    Right, the idea in my mind wasn't so much pinpoint accuracy with focus but a wider depth of field that is moved into range of the target object(s), to provide acceptable focus for a range of distance - similar to a SLR camera, where with a tight depth of field you can focus right on the individual flower but all other flowers immediately before and after it are progressively more and more out of focus, or you can open up the depth of field and capture the entire flower bush in focus at once. Still, I get (and agree with), what you're saying.

    As for the mechanism of changing the level of refraction, that could be more easily solved. Piezo electronics could actually make that happen. At the surface of the eyeball, the minute difference in the curvature of the lens is amazingly small to effect a dramatic difference in focal length. By applying a voltage to a laminate lens filled with optic fluid or gel, and allowing that voltage to flex or bend just one of the two laminate surfaces would effectively change the thickness of the lens and curvature, thereby changing the refractory index (power). Perhaps it won't be a contact lens, but instead an implanted lens like is done to resolve cataracts.

    The real challenges are power, both in charging and storage. We need a battery that operates at nano-structure levels to give us massive surface area in a very small form, to allow them to be powerful enough to last several days. That technology is not far off either - perhaps only a few years away. Wireless charging (as it appears this one operates on), would be the mechanism to get the battery recharged every couple days, and we have that now.
     
  5. 94lt1

    94lt1 Super Moderator
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    Cool...but bring on the over the eye HUD...so I can stream movies and look right through people that annoy me...lmao

    Can you imagine?? At the in-laws, watching the game and they don't know it. However someone abusing the tech, like idk...playing frogger and driving down the interstate..and crash...and..poof, tje same issue as Google glass is having now..grrrr...
     
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  6. 94lt1

    94lt1 Super Moderator
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    As far as power...we're nothing but a carbon based robot, find a way to scavenge power from our bodies.. Ok..I'm way out there now. :D
     
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  7. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    Not as far as it may seem. I'm sure there are many ways to harness power from the human body as a source for such a device. Even simple chemical reactions to produce a "battery", no different than dissimilar metals and salt water, can produce voltages high enough to support such micro-circuitry. Still there may be even more elegant ways to harness power from the human body for this purpose. I am confident that man and machine will eventually be a blend of the two, moving more towards machine as time goes on. It's happening already with prosthetic limbs controlled by the mind.

    Edit: I thought of another way...thermoelectric energy...essentially a solid state heat pump - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_effect, using what's better known as the Peltier effect. Using the heat of the human body as the "hot" side, and a large heat-sink to cool the "cold" side, you produce electricity simply by creating a difference in temperature between the two sides of the device.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gigantic-62...r-Cooler-/310135040904?_trksid=p2054897.l4275 is a perfect example.

    Gigantic_62mm_-_350_Watt.jpg

    This device - depending on the amount of heat and cooling you apply to either side, is capable of up to 16 volts, and up to 32 amps! Now of course with the body temperature of a maximum 98.6 degrees, and ambient temperatures of maybe 70 degrees, a maximum c.28 degree temperature difference would only produce perhaps fraction sof volts and milliamps of current, but how much could a device like that contact lens actually need?
     
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  8. xeene

    xeene Gold Member

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    I want a contact lense with 100x digital zoom!
     
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