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Samsung secures patent for contact lens with built-in camera

06 April 2016

Following the lead given by Google, Samsung also intends to develop smart contact lenses that would do much more than just serving as a fancy replacement for glasses.

The company has secured a patent in South Korea for smart contact lenses that could project images directly into the wearer's eye.

According to a report on SamMobile, the contact lens came equipped with a tiny display, a camera, an antenna, and several sensors that detected movement and the most basic form of input through blinking of the eyes.

While the display projected images directly into the wearer's eyes, an external device like a smartphone was needed for processing the content.

According to commentators, the smart contact lenses would serve to create a better and more natural augmented reality experience than the existing ones offered by Google Glass-like wearables and would basically mean having Google Glass-like functionality fitted right into the lens without requiring wearing additional gear.

The technology is intended for application in diverse fields and the grant of a patent did not  mean that it would surely convert into a consumer-ready product. Companies are known to file patents for many research initiatives which may or may not ultimately formalise into a real product.

According to the report by SamMobile, the company's primary reason for the development of smart contact lenses was the limited image quality that could be achieved with smart glasses. Lenses could offer a more natural way to provide augmented reality than smart glasses.

The company applied for its contacts patent in 2014, the same year Google received patents in the US for its smart contacts. Only Google was, so far, known to be working on smart contact lenses.

The patent application made it clear that the lens would incorporate a sensor, indicating that it could be used to monitor glucose, as Google had confirmed that it is working with Novartis to make a glucose-monitoring contact lens for diabetics. These contact lenses were supposed to be a separate project from the Google Glass program too.

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