Samsung is a company that’s known to us as one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, but to everyone else, they’re known as a manufacturer of all kinds of consumer electronics. Over the past few years, the firm has branched out into other product categories such as wearables, but the firm is also one that’s looking ahead to the future of things, and they’re a firm that’s patented a lot of innovative designs recently. One of those is a smart contact lens, that would be worn by the user invisibly, without anyone around them knowing they were wearing such a thing. It’s the sort of device that sounds like something out of science fiction, but Samsung has the patents that could lead to it becoming science fact.
The first smart contact lens patents were put in place by Samsung last year, but they’ve only been released to the public throughout 2016. A new patent shows just how such a device would get its energy. Given the recent concerns over large batteries inside of devices such as the Galaxy Note 7, it wouldn’t be right to keep a battery, however small, in such close vicinity to someone’s eyes, so Samsung think they have another solution. In between the layers of the contact lens, Samsung would place a piezoelectric layer which would recover energy from kinetic movement and store small amounts of it for when the user has a fixed gaze at something, and thus not providing any kinetic energy.
Samsung hopes that they will be able to place everything they need into the thin contact lens, including a place to store some power, a handful of sensors as well as the ability to project an AR display and interface, similarly to the way that Google Glass has done. Of course, patents and reality don’t always cross paths, and given that Samsung presumably lacks the ability to even develop something like this, there’s a good chance that this patent might not ever turn into a real product. For Samsung, however, that might not be the end goal, as there is precedent to suggest that owning the patents can be more lucrative than shipping the product. Besides, looking into such solutions could also help them develop other, similar products, too.