Science fiction from movies is becoming reality. In this case a scene from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, where IMF agent Milliam Brandt(played by Jeremy Renner), may have you wondering if this technology exists yet. According to a patent that recently surfaced, Samsung may be working on making this a reality soon, with their patent of a smart contact lens.
The patent – which was filed in South Korea — describes a contact lens where a small display unit is placed in the center. SamMobile reported that Samsung’s smart contact lens also has a camera, an antenna and sensors that detects movements. The camera built into the Samsung smart contact lens would be controlled by blinking. And the Wi-Fi antenna in the smart contact lens enables the wearable device to communicate with an external device to process data such as a smartphone or tablet. The blinking feature would work in a way that is similar to how Google GOOGL +0.90% Glass took photos when the user winked.
Why would Samsung build smart contact lenses instead of smart glasses? The patent application reveals Samsung is interested in smart contact lenses because of the limited image quality that is achievable by smart glasses. Plus smart contact lenses provide a more natural experience for augmented reality technology compared to smart glasses.
You may recall that Samsung is not the only technology company pursuing the idea of smart contact lenses. Google announced Google Contact Lens in January 2014, which is a wearable device that is expected to assist people with diabetes to measure glucose levels in tear drops. Google Contact Lens is being overseen by Alphabet’s life sciences arm called Verily, a former division of Google X. Samsung’s patent for a smart contact lens recently surfaced, but the application actually dates back to 2014 as well.
And last year, a research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology revealed it was working on magnifying contact lenses that can zoom in and out by winking. IFLScience said that the telescopes integrated into those lenses were “first developed with funding from DARPA as super thin cameras for aerial drones, but they were later converted into a vision-enhancing system.”