Google has a penchant for far-out tech that never reaches the market. The latest is a method of injecting a device into an eyeball, mostly as a means to correct poor vision. Described in a patent application dated April 28, 2016, the device is injected in fluid that then solidifies to couple the device with the eye’s lens capsule, the transparent membrane surrounding the lens. Injection would take place ”following the removal of the natural lens from the lens capsule,” the patent reads.
The planned device injected into the eye contains a number of tiny components: storage, sensors, radio, battery and an electronic lens. The eyeball device gets power wirelessly from an “energy harvesting antenna.” The patent describes what looks like an external device to interface with the eyeball computer. The two will communicate through a radio and the ”interface device” contains the processor to do the necessary computing.
According to the patent, the electronic lens would assist in the process of focusing light onto the eye’s retina.
This isn’t the first time Google has worked on technology you can stick right into your eyeball. In early 2014, it began talking about the Google Contact Lens that measured glucose levels in tears to help people with diabetes. The glucose-measuring contact lenses are now a part of Verily, the division under the new Alphabet organization focused on life sciences. Most likely this kind of eyeball device is also being worked on by Verily.
Andrew Jason Conrad is listed as the inventor and he’s the head of Verily. Conrad was associated with the Google Contact Lens project. An article last month in Stat News describes an exodus in talent from Verily because of difficulties working with Conrad. Before Google, he was the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Laboratory Corporation of America. He has a PhD in cell biology from the University of California in Los Angeles.
I’ve reached out to Verily for comment and will update this post if I hear back.
The Google patent was unearthed by legal tech firm ClientSide.