Wearable technology is the buzz phrase of the moment with Google Glass, the iWatch, and a host of devices on the market and in development. These devices will support us in our daily lives in a new way and improve upon what we already have, creating new opportunities for those who are in some way restricted by their health. One of these areas where vast improvements are predicted in conjunction with wearable technology, is in the area of vision.
Health and eyesight are inherently connected and this infographic highlights some of the possible developments in this area in the future. Google for example is currently in discussions with the FDA about their Smart Contact Lens which they hope to develop in partnership with the Alcon eye care unit of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to license the technology. The idea behind the lens is to help monitor blood glucose levels of type 2 diabetes by retrieving the necessary information from the tears in the eyeball.
A separate project which Google has filed a patent application for (but no product announcement as yet) is a contact lens with an integrated micro camera to work in conjunction with their Smart Contact Lens technology. The idea behind the technology is that a person will be able to take a picture by simply blinking. Collecting raw data and facial recognition technology would play a large part in this. The hope is that this would be beneficial on a multi-platform level for both the visually impaired on a core health level, but also to support the Instagram generation on a purely social level.
Perhaps one of the most innovative and what some would consider optimistic theory of how we as a society will see in the future, generates from a project in the laboratories of the University of Michigan. Electrical Engineers are trialling the theory of measuring an electrical current running alongside a graphene layer on contact lenses. Graphene is a substance which is an atom thick layer of carbon, it is thin, small, and works well in room temperature. The idea behind it is to produce an electrical signal that can display a night vision image. While it will be many years before this technology is ready to move outside the safe controlled environment of a laboratory, the very idea that we could one day see in the dark is certainly an intriguing one.