You may remember the smart contact lenses in the film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Well, a Google patent recently revealed they are working on a similar eye implant, with a twist. These “Cyborg Eyes”, as many are calling them are going to be much more than just smart lenses.
The company plans to replace the already-present lenses in the human eye with electronic lens implants. This would completely replace regular eye function and even make vision 20/20. The concept also hints on a future where smart contact lenses could be simply placed over the eye to further simplify the technology.
According to their research, Google says there would be a hole drilled into the lens capsule (the part of the eye that protects the lens). With the assistance of ultrasonic vibrations, the lens would be shattered and all pieces would be suctioned out. This would free up the space required to inject the new electronic lens device, along with a fluid that turns into silicone hydrogen. The “cyborg” lens would self-adjust to reach the optimal level of focus depending on the sight of the wearer, while also correcting vision concerns like nearsighted or farsightedness without the need of contact lenses or glasses.
Liquid crystals, micro mirrors and micro-fluidic pumps would allow the lens to alter its shape as required by the wearer. Different lenses for different eye-related health concerns would also be available. The lens would have a wireless connection, allowing data to be sent to the user’s Smartphone, tablet or laptop. This data would be easily accessible by health care providers, who could manipulate the data in order to automatically send updates to the wearer’s prescription as vision requirements change over the years.
To keep the lens powered, Google’s patent says there would be an antenna that connects wirelessly to power sources within close range. Google plans such sources to be items the user could wear on their body such as a piece of jewelry to always keep their lens powered no matter where they are. There would also be a charging station available that can be used when the person is sleeping.
Google has a few applications in the making. One common use of smart contact lenses would be to use sensors within the device itself to help wearers keep tabs on their glucose levels via their tears. The lenses may also help individuals to read barcodes, identify allergens in the present location and track things such as body temperature and blood alcohol levels.
While all of these ideas are simply that, ideas and something that Google is considering, this does not necessarily mean the product will come to life. However, this is a great indication as to what types of technology Google is interested in, so some sort of cyborg implants may not be that far off in the future. In 2014, a team working at the University of Michigan discussed a sensor technology that may be able to allow night vision via smart contact lenses.
We may not be able to predict what types of implants may be just over the horizon, but there is a good chance they are going to change the way we view the world. These technologies will not only help make us smarter but will also help us better understand and track the health of the human body.