Google Glass goes on sale today: Smart contact lens to come next?

large__10366350245If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a Google Glass but haven’t got in on the Glass Explorer program, today’s your lucky day as the device is going on sale for one-day only to anyone of legal age in the US. Stocks are limited so be sure to head to this page at 6am PDT/9am EDT today.

Though many are interested in Glass, others are voicing privacy concerns especially when they see an Explorer out in the wild. Just yesterday, BusinessInsider’s so-called journalist Kyle Russell experienced having his Glass destroyed while covering an anti-Google protest. Russell believes the woman who took his Glass and smashed it was not part of the protesters, but he stated that it was clear that the woman only had destruction in mind when she shouted “Glass” before grabbing the device then ran from Russell and eventually smashing it, rendering the device unusable.

This isn’t the first time an Explorer has been maltreated. There have been reports of people getting the boot from restaurants, bars and cinemas, with other customers resorting to physical violence just to get their hands on the $1,500-worth device with the sole intent of destroying it.

But if some people are so dead set against Google Glass, just how are they going to feel if Google comes up with a ‘smart’ contact lens with the same kinds of capabilities.

There’s a good chance that all hell would break lose, with anyone caught wearing ‘Google Lens’ facing a very high risk of having their eyes gouged out.

A sight for sore eyes


Well, such a horrific scenario could soon become reality, if the new patent unearthed by Patent Bolt is ever acted upon. The website has discovered a patent filed by Google that pertains to the integration of tiny cameras in future smart contact lenses. The patent describes a technology implementation that integrates a camera on or within the thin, flexible, lens material, thus enabling the wearer to take photos. To capture images, users need to perform a “unique blinking pattern”, which means blinking normally will not trigger the smart lens to take a photo.

Some already see this implementation as an easier way to spy on people since no one can see when a photo is being taken. Think of the scene from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol where William Brandt, the character played by actor Jeremy Renner, wore a contact lens that takes a photo when he blinks. It’s quite concerning as you’ll never know when someone is secretly taking a photo of you or if the person just has a nervous tick.

Though privacy will be one of the first things Google needs to address if and when it unveils a smart contact lens, the search giant is said to be targeting consumers with visual impairment. The idea is that the smart contact lens can take a photo of the surroundings then relay the information to the user’s smartphone, which will then inform the wearer if it’s okay to cross the road or if there’s something blocking their path. lens’ image data can also be used to detect light, colors, pattern of colors, objects, faces, motion, and any other suitable information, that can help people with visual impairment.

The device would wirelessly connect with the user’s smartphone, so data generated can be managed on the smartphone. Aside from the embedded camera, Google is looking into ways to charge the device using renewable energy sources by using sensors. The sensors that will be integrated in the smart contact lens can be a photodiode, pressure sensor, conductivity sensor, temperature sensor, electric field sensor, or even a micromechanical switch.

This isn’t the first time Google has looked into the important role wearable tech can play in people’s lives. Back in January, Google revealed that it’s working on a smart contact lens that is able to measure the glucose level of whoever’s wearing it.  Google hopes to make wearable tech more meaningful for those dealing with certain health issues such as diabetes.

photo credit: e³°°° via photopin cc