Google partners with Novartis to create smart contact lens

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By Salvador Rodriguez

 

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis International AG and technology giant Google have teamed up to create a smart contact lens capable of measuring diabetics’ glucose levels and correcting farsightedness.

As part of the deal, Novartis is licensing technology behind Google’s smart contact lens. Still in development, the smart lens was first announced in January. The new partnership is intended to speed up development and commercialization. Google will be working with Alcon, Novartis’ eye-care division.

“We aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world,” Jeff George, division head of Alcon, said in a written statement.

Tiny sensors and microchips would be embedded in the lens. The device could provide diabetic users measurements of their glucose levels by gauging their tear fluid then transmitting the data wirelessly to a smartphone.

Jill Weisenberger, a certified diabetes educator, said the technology could benefit diabetics, who would no longer have to carry around a glucose meter, remember to measure their levels or prick their fingers for blood every time they do. According to the American Diabetes Assn., more than 29 million Americans have diabetes.

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