Over the years, smartphones and artificiell intelligence (or machine learning if you prefer) has become more and more advanced. According to Michio Kaku, an American theoretical physicist, in the future the internet is going to be in our contact lens in a blink of an eye, literally.
Google has come up with the idea of using contact lens that can be used to monitor and alleviate health problems.
The Google Smart Contact lens have two exterior layers using flexible plastics and electrode using carbon nanotubes, metal nanowire or conductive polymers. A LC layer (that help to change focal length of the lens if and when required) is deposited between two electrodes actuated by voltages applied across these electrodes.
The ring substrate layer includes a battery with controller circuit to power various components such as sensors, electrodes and the battery. All using transparent materials so that the components do not hinder vision. The layer forms electrical connections with connection tabs of the two electrodes and the controller circuit.
To be able to charge these lens, photodiodes are placed in the outer surface of the lens, with the ability of harvesting optical signals emitted from e.g. smartphones and radio frequency.
Photodiodes can also be used to optical communication from the smartphone; Reflectors or LEDs placed over the lens are employed to send optical communication back to smartphone.
Now, how can these contact lenses be used?
Firstly, by measuring certain chemicals in the tears on the eye, the information will be conveyed via optical communication to the smartphone whereas an app receive and displays to monitor various physiological parameters. For example by measuring glucose levels to help people suffering from diabetes, body temperature, urea level and blood-alcohol content. Another application of this is to monitor pollutants in the vicinity showing various pollutants like grass/tree pollen, dust mite excretion, etc. Basically, this technology reminds of AR in contact lenses instead of the smartphone as I wrote about in my last post https://zendinha.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/how-augmented-reality-is-used-within-biotechnology/.
This innovative idea can help preventing the spread of infectious diseases or alert user to seek urgent medical attention before condition worsens.
As for now, this type of AI in life science is still questioned regarding the risks and accuracy. One issue according to David Walt, a diagnostic expert at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute in Boston, is that the glucose sensor relies on an enzyme (glucose oxidase) to bind to the sugar and measure its levels. But that binding generates hydrogen peroxide which is a reactive compound that can damage the eye and since the amount of the enzyme in the device will decline, researchers will need a way to calibrate the amount of glucose the sensors are measuring continuously.
What do you think, would you use these type of contact lenses if they become available in the market? In that case, what would interest you to know about the world around?
More is yet to come!