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Google and Novartis team up to make 'smart' contact lenses a reality

Collaborate on medical eyewear
Tue Jul 15 2014, 11:59

GOOGLE IS WORKING with Novartis on 'smart' contact lenses that could be used by the medical industry.

The collaboration is working on the Google smart lens that was revealed as a Google X project earlier this year, and sees the internet giant working with Alcon, the part of Novartis that deals with eyecare.

"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."

Together Alcon and Google X will develop a contact lens that the medical industry can use to measure a person's blood sugar.

"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 Google co-founder Sergey Brin. "We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true."

The statements from the Alcon camp are equally excited and similarly positive. It said that as well as aiding diabetics the technology could also help visually impaired people better focus on what they are seeing.

"Alcon and Google have a deep and common passion for innovation," said Jeff George, division head of Alcon.

"By combining Alcon's leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google's innovative 'smart lens' technology and groundbreaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world."

Yesterday we reported that the founder of Google Glass founder Babak Parvis has left the company to join Amazon. Previously, he had worked as a researcher at the University of Washington where he developed the first smart contact lenses with integrated circuits, and he also worked with Microsoft on research for blood-glucose monitoring contacts. µ


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