Google has taken their new Google Glass technology a step further with an idea that could have significant benefits for the blind.
The company has applied for a patent for a contact lens containing a built-in camera. With this, a blind person would be able, for example, to receive an audible signal warning of an approaching car at an intersection. The lens would process the image and communicate with a remote device such as a smart phone carried by the wearer. The system, according to Google, also would be able to detect and describe faces; and, by extension, it should be able to act as a text reader (optical character recognition). Both of these capacities would be of enormous benefit to people with impaired central vision, as with macular degeneration. The user will be able to control the camera by way of different blinking patterns. The technology for this product is in place, but development and marketing are still further down the road.