Earlier this week, Google announced Android Wear to the world, and ever since we’ve been in awe as to everything it can do. Now we’re seeing a new patent application that Google has put into the USPTO, thanks to Patent Bolt for picking up on it, and it’s for “multi-sensor contact lenses” which is intended primarily as a method for blinking input or input augmentation for wearable devices. It’s also important to note that this isn’t the same as the contact lenses that Google announced back in January – those are pretty damn cool too.
The idea of this patent is there a number of sensors in a contact lens, and they can be used to detect when your eye blinks with a very incredible accuracy. In fact the technology to track blinks already exists but it’s been focused almost exclusively on external cameras. However this patent application that Google has submitted describes a light sensor, a pressure sensor, a temperature sensor, and conductivity and electric field sensors.
This application is describing input based on a pattern of blinks, both for wearable and non-wearable devices. Basically what this means is that you could send input to your smartphone with a blink or two. Kind of like saying blink once for yes, and blink twice for no, or something similar. While this patent application was filed back in 2012, a few of the more practical parts of the idea are left abstract, particularly the power supply, which Google has described as using various methods of power including solar, thermal or radio frequency power.
The application is pretty interesting, and exciting to say the least. And I think it’d have more to do with Glass or those contact lenses that Google announced earlier this year, more than any smart watch, since I don’t think a smart watch on your wrist could detect you blinking. Although I could be wrong.