Google makes cool stuff. There's self-driving cars, that funky street view camera, and those experimental glasses anyone will be able to buy for one day only tomorrow, April 15th. Yet for every product that comes out, there's another in the pipeline that may or may not ever see the light of day. Last month we learned of a patent application for a pair of smart contact lenses that would process blinks as input for wearable devices. Now Patent Bolt has reported on a separate application for a micro camera component for those lenses.
The first thing that comes to mind here is the ability to take photos using just your eyes. If the thought of people wearing Glass in large numbers freaks you out, this would be even worse, as there wouldn't be an unsightly piece of hardware attached to frames that at least provide somewhat of a heads up.
Naturally, that possibility isn't the point. This micro camera could potentially benefit people's lives. A blind person wearing these contacts could receive an alert if there are obstacles in the way. It could prompt them when it's safe to cross a street or recognize faces and inform them, through an audio cue generated by a smartphone or some other device, who's there.
This camera would apparently have the power to replace binoculars, giving people the ability to see farther by focusing in on distant objects more clearly. In this way they could theoretically improve eyesight, not unlike traditional contact lenses.
The system could potentially support more than one camera, and there's also a sensor that could possibly detect temperature, pressure, or other variables.
Google applied for the original smart lenses patent in Q3 of 2012, and this one followed in Q4. If the product does become available somewhere down the road, don't expect it anytime soon. Who knows what form this may take when, or if, it ever comes to fruition. We'll just have to wait and see.
Source: Patent Bolt