A few months ago, Google announced that they are developing contact lenses that can measure glucose levels present in one's tears. For diabetics accustomed to poking themselves multiple times per days, these contacts present an incredible opportunity to improve quality of life.
Now, Google has filed a patent for what I'll call "Google Contacts," which feature tiny cameras embedded in the contact lenses.
At Pristine, the moment we saw Google Contacts, we began dreaming. Compared to a contact lens, Glass is a primitive tool. Because the screen is removed from one's direct line of site, Glass isn't a practical augmented reality device. Rather, Glass is just a passive device, described by Google as: "there when you need it, and out of sight when you don't."
Google Contacts will open an incredible wave of opportunities in augmented reality and human-computer interaction. With the ability to layer or remove any data from one's visual field, the lines between reality and virtual reality begin to blur.
Google Contacts will also create incredible new opportunities in telehealth. By embedding cameras in contact lenses, Google Contacts will overcome one of the greatest limitations of Glass: the fact that the camera can't mirror movements of the eye.
Imagine an emergency room physician or nurse, sending the visual product of an exam to a neurologist or other specialists for an immediate consult. The specialist could "draw" on the screen on which s/he is viewing the video stream, and the person wearing the contacts could literally see what the consultant is drawing. The opportunities for telepresence and collaboration are incredible.
Or imagine an emergency responder who, by closely examining an injured or ill person, will automatically beam back detailed visual information to a physician back at the hospital. Or a military medic, beaming back details of an injured soldier from the battlefield to doc based in the rear.
Coupled with breakthroughs in augmented reality, the future for Google Contacts looks incredibly promising.