Google smart lenses to aid m-health disease prevention


Novartis to license Google smart lens technology to manage human diseases and conditions

Healthcare company, Novartis recently announced that its eye care division, Alcon, has entered into an agreement with a division of Google to in-license its smart lens technology for visual medical uses. Initial focuses of the agreement will include developing solutions to aid diabetic patients and those with age related long-sightedness, presbyopia.

The team within Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to large global problems, Google[x], will provide Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialise Google's smart lens technology with the potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon's strategy in contact lenses and intraocular lenses.

The agreement between Google and Alcon represents an important step for Novartis, across all of its divisions, to use smart lens technology to manage human diseases and conditions. Novartis aims to enhance the ways in which diseases are mapped within the body and ultimately prevented.

Under the agreement, Google[x]and Alcon will collaborate to develop a smart lens that has the potential to address ocular (visual) conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturised electronics which are embedded within contact lenses.

Novartis' interest in this technology is currently focused in two areas: helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body's glucose levels via a ‘smart contact lens' which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device; and for people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the smart lens has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye's natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.

'We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs,' said Novartis CEO, Joseph Jimenez. 'This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.'

Commented Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google: 'Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturisation of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people. We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.'

The transaction remains subject to anti-trust approvals.

Smart Chimps thinks: This is a really exciting development for mobile health and wearable technology; we are seeing a rather gimmicky product being utilised to make the lives of people better, from health management through to prevention of escalation. Wearable technology in mobile health situations is the stuff of sci-fi legend, and Smart Chimps believes it is going to be all-pervasive very soon, and definitely in our future.


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