Google announces smart contact lenses (yes, this is happening)


When Google first announced the Google Glass Project, it was easy to imagine a future where the wearable would eventually become so small, they’d be able to cram the technology into a contact lens. While that technology is still a ways off, Google did surprise us today when they announced an all new project they’ve been working on: “smart contact lenses” — only the aim is different than you probably think.

Google Smart Contact Lens Project

More for measuring the glucose levels in diabetes patients, the smart lenses are able to monitor patients and notify them immediately when levels drop to dangerous levels. This is done by measuring the glucose found in the subjects tears, giving relief to diabetic tired of pricking their fingers multiple times a day.

Current prototypes are able to generate glucose readings once per second, making monitoring far more frequent, and a lot less painful. Progress is still early, but Google hopes to outfit the contact lenses with tiny LEDs to serve as a warning to the wearer when glucose has exceeded, or fallen below thresholds. Google is already in talks with the FDA, and is currently looking for partners to bring this new technology to market.

We can’t help but wonder as this technology matures, the other areas it could possibly expand to in the future. Google, color us impressed.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I’m not sure if I’d feel comfortable wearing one of these… Maybe I’m just imagining things, but there’s a big risk in putting something like this so close to a vital part of your body, even if it’s only just a glucose monitor.

    1. Don’t be too worried. It wasn’t too long ago that we thought shooting lasers into our eyeballs was crazy, or completely replacing our hearts with something completely artificial would work. What I’d like to know is how this thing generates power to use.

      1. It sucks it from your soul.

      2. It looks like the semiconductor (if they are not plain copper) rings in the lens could serve as a mini solar panel to generate electricity from contact with light. I think that’s possible. Or maybe the rings are just a wireless antenna which besides communicating with a device such as a nearby smartphone, it can be used to charge the battery also.

        1. I certainly hope it won’t be wirelessly charged. Otherwise you’ll be forced to stare at a QI charger from 1 centimeter away for a minute everyday. I don’t think these contacts would have a very long lifespan before needing replacement. From what I understand, typical contact lenses last about a month. These probably won’t make it past FDA if they didn’t last at least 2 weeks. Considering how low power and short life they would be, it might even be able to run off a precharged tiny battery. Maybe off static electricity or something. I don’t know. I’m no electrician.

          1. if they make them cheap enough, they can be used like daily contacts where u toss them out after every use

    2. Cant be any worse than a hardened plastic lens that can accidently slide around to the back of your eyeball where it will have to be surgically removed.

      1. that can happen with any contact lense. and no the contact can’t slide behind your eyeball. I had a contact pushed way past my eyelid and was able to get it out but it took like 20 minutes because it was really far back

        1. “that can happen with any contact lense.” That was exactly his point…..

    3. I agree, all it will take is for a piece of the contact lens circuitry to pierce through the lens coating and do some major damage to your eyes. But its still really cool.

  2. Damn that’s crazy. But cool!

  3. Typo on the last sentence. It says, “Google, color us impressed.” I think you mean, “call us impressed.” lol

    1. nope, that’s an actual expression.

    2. No, they don’t

      And if you’re going to be an amateur editor, you better make sure you know what you’re talking about

    3. Haha you’ve never heard anyone say “well color me embarrassed” or anything?

      1. or color me bad… remember them guys. “i wanna sex you up” Nobody… Nothing? Damn, I’m showing my age.

  4. What has phandroid done? On my desktop chrome I keep getting popup AND audio ads! ONLY on phandroid!

    1. I think you haz the viruses.

      1. Maybe he’s talking about the page below, where one of the videos play’s automatically:

  5. Darn, I was hoping I was finally in luck. That’s the only way I’d wear any form of Google glass.

    1. same here. I was momentarily disappointed

  6. If it’s Google it’s only a matter of time when they add data acquisition & tracking. Don’t be impressed, be afraid, very afraid.

    1. Go find a cave in the mountains ya hippy. Just by using the internet, youre technically being tracked, posting here, your I.P address is listed and recorded. Good job avoiding being tracked and having your data acquired.

  7. Damn, I thought these were going to be smart lenses lol. Checking email, making phone calls, all from the confort of your brain… Or eyes.

  8. I can see it now. Bausch + Lomb a Google Company….

    1. Bausch + Lomboogle?

    2. Eye SEE what you did there…

      Or was it accidental?

      1. Thanks to smart contact lenses eye can see it in your eyes and drive at the same time!! (but to be fair, so can the NSA)

  9. Is anyone else getting freaked out?

  10. I am itching to start programming the smart condoms ;) See, it is really easy:

  11. I really need this for the people in my family with diabetes.

    1. I really need it for myself. Checking glucose 4 times a day is not a big deal, but constant monitoring always wins. Plus I could just put it in my bad eye, so it wouldn’t be much of a distraction in a good one. How do I sign up for testing?

  12. Think they’ll offer these in dailies?

  13. My body is ready for an optic nerve bypass…

  14. For a second there I thought Google glasse went to contact lenses but this nice too

  15. As a diabetic, Type I, hypoglycemic unaware, wrecker of automobiles, and lover of all things Vanilla Android, please let me be the first to accept a beta invite

    1. sound like a sound off on game of thrones

  16. Diabetes type 2 already has a cure by Neal Barnard. maybe google aiming for diabetes type 1 which is less friendly and less common.

  17. I want won of those Bionic Eyes like Steve Austin (The six million dollar man) had

  18. good one to hear …. this video tell us about this smart contact lens

  19. And one day we will all have to wear one like these so the Govn can control us. They’ll see everything we do. And they’ll send us messages on them.

    1. Just wear your tin foil and no worries. :)

  20. This what people think about when they think technology. Clear and useful ways to advance the day to day issues that people face. Not patent battles and ad blitzes for the “Next Big Thing”. Way to go Google.

  21. for people who are serious and understand this is for a good cause way to im a diabetic i know…I hope we see more in the way of these things.

  22. This is absolutely great news. My fingers will love Google for this. Now all I need is a bionic pancreas.

  23. Far less geeky than I expected, but still very very cool!

  24. I heard about this on NPR this morning and was blown away!

    Go Google!

  25. Catching up on some TV sitting at desk at work.

  26. It would be great for me since I’m a diabetic!

    1. Ya now all we need (type 1) is a reliable way to link this to an insulin pump but our wonderful FDA loves to drag their feet on stuff like that. Although this will probably be expensive like the pumps and lime the pumps you will have to fight with insurance companies to cover the costs, oh the woes….

      1. I have a pump too and I agree they need to find a way to integrate it with the pump in order to regulate your sugars on the fly giving you more stable glucose levels. They should also providing an app. We will see what comes of it…

    2. I usually like to read the comments first if the topic doesn’t really interest me that much. So I read your comment and I was like “WTF!?”

      I had to go read the article. LoL!!

      1. Glad I could help ! Lol

  27. Wait, didn’t Google used to be a search engine?

    I forget…….

    1. Google it.

      AH!! Seems that they still are. =.P

  28. Oh that would be freaky looking at someone and seeing a LED blinking in their eye. Sugar, ah honey honey.
    Skynet already exist.

  29. Actually, I would welcome this. Only in the case that they look cool. =.3

  30. Hey Google, why not allow for music to be purchased in Canada first… then worry about these cyber lenses…

    1. Yeah, because Google is a one man corporation and cannot multitask.

  31. Will there be a Nexus version? I want that version.

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