In focus: A smart way forward for contact lenses?

The potential of smart contact lenses has received much fanfare in recent years. With more major technology players entering the fray, Simon Jones looks at some of the touted technologies and considers the clinical implications of wearing a smart contact lens

There has been a slew of patents for smart contact lenses so far in 2016, with technological capabilities that sound like pure science fiction. Head-up displays, zoom functions and glucose monitoring have been just some of the abilities hinted at among applications.

Although the technology might be some time away, there appears to be a battle to get these wonder-lenses to market first. Sony has become the latest firm to enter the fray, with Samsung and Google having already tossed their hats into the ring.

While the technology is exciting, a reality check is needed. Patents are exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. Only Google has showed evidence it has progressed down an R&D timeline.

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