Google patents a smart contact lens that also includes a camera

16 Apr 2014

Just as the Google Glass makes its first steps into the open market, the company is already working on a contact lens that will also work as a high quality camera.

The patent was picked up by Patent Bolt and describes a smart lens that will let a person take a photo of exactly what they see, activated by simply blinking.

Of course, simply blinking won’t have you taking dozens of photos every minute, but will be controlled by a series of particular blinks that the user could select will perform a particular function.

Aside from being able to take pictures, it could also prove to be a major breakthrough for people who are either visually impaired or totally blind by acting as the technological equivalent of a seeing eye dog.

As Patent Bolt describes: “A blind person wearing Google’s contact lens with a built-in camera may be walking on a sidewalk and approaching an intersection. The analysis component of the contact lens can process the raw image data of the camera to determine processed image data indicating that the blind person is approaching intersection with a crosswalk and establish that there is a car approaching the intersection.”

The blind user will then receive an audible or vibration warning on their Android smartphone.

Other applications suggested could prove hugely benficial to organisations like police forces who could use the contact lens to identify a suspect from a database, something which could tie in to the FBI’s push towards a larger facial recognition database, expected to have 52m Americans on file by summer of 2015.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic