It may still be a long way to go before Alphabet, Google's parent company, can finally set its smart, autofocusing contact lenses in motion, now that Swiss drugmaker Novartis has crossed 2016 as a potential human testing date, though it notes that the product is "progressing steadily."
Delayed Human Trials For Google's Smart Contact Lenses
A spokeswoman for Novartis has noted that a specific date for testing the product on humans remains difficult to determine.
"This is a very technically complex process and both sides are learning as we go along," she explained in an email to Reuters, promising to provide more updates "at the appropriate time" as development continues to advance.
Novartis previously marked 2016 as the official date for testing the smart lenses on actual people. These smart lenses are designed to restore the eye's natural ability to focus. At the time, Joe Jimenez, Novartis' chief executive, had assured Swiss Newspaper Le Temps that the project was "progressing well."
Google And Novartis Collaboration
Google and Novartis first partnered up two years ago to develop two kinds of smart contact lenses: an autofocusing lenses for people suffering from presbyopia, also known as farsightedness, and another lens for measuring blood glucose levels.
If blood sugar could be measured using the eye, Diabetic patients will refrain from having to puncture their fingers, while an autofocusing lens could help those whose eyes' ability to focus has receded with age.
These lenses are currently being developed by Verily, which was previously Google X's life sciences unit, now a separate research organization under Alphabet's roof.
There's no telling when the testing for the diabetes lens will begin.
The Future Of Health Care
Many are betting both lenses to be the giant leap in health care, and it might take some time before they're out of the market. Both lenses will piggyback on very ambitious technology, and Verily will surely need the extended period in order to develop both. There's no telling what has stumped the collaboration.
Suffice to say that there's always a question whether we're already at that point in technology where smart contact lenses embedded with parts that enable features stated above can function seamlessly.
It's remains uncharted territory for now, one which Verily and Novartis are privy to. Still, we hope that it won't take long before we finally reach the dawn of smart contact lenses.
Do you believe we're nearing the next innovation in wearable technology by virtue of health-focused smart contact lenses? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!