Remember Google’s smart contact lenses? Well, now the giant Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is turning them into a commercial reality.

The two companies have announced that Novartis is licensing Google’s technology to create special contact lenses for diabetic patients. The new lenses will analyze tear fluid in the eye and provide real-time, constant measurement of an individual’s glucose levels. That data will then be transmitted wirelessly to a mobile, enabling users to monitor their condition easily.

Novartis appears to have plans beyond simple glucose level monitoring, though. It plans to use them to treat people with presbyopia, who can no longer read without glasses, and is even considering the possibility of implanting the lens directly into the eye. Which, is great but… ouch?

The technology is still very much in its infancy—you can be sure it’ll take a while to get FDA approval—but this is a big step forwards. This is one Google X project that is definitely becoming a commercial reality.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary