Google and Novartis put off scheduled test of smart contact lens

Google has been forced to put it plans for a 'smart' contact lens on hold after plans for human testing ran into delays. Alphabet offshoot Verily Life Sciences and pharmaceutical partner Novartis were scheduled to commence clinical trials of the lens this year. However, the two companies will now revise the schedule.

Google has two new types of contact lens under development, with one designed to monitor the blood glucose levels of diabetes patients, and the other for people suffering from far-sightedness, with built-in auto-focusing. The delays reportedly would hit the second lense category.

Novartis has earlier said that its auto-focusing contact lens was on-track to enter human testing in 2016, but had now dropped the target for undisclosed reasons though a company spokesperson told Reuters, work on the product was "progressing steadily".

"It is too early to say when exactly human clinical trials for these lenses will begin," they told the news agency. "This is a very technically complex process and both sides are learning as we go along. We will provide updates at the appropriate time."

Google proposed its auto-focusing contact lens back in 2014. The lens is designed for people who suffer from a form of far-sightedness, which is an inability to focus on close objects.

The lens was being manufactured by Novartis' eye care division Alcon, and it had been speculated that the leadership shake-up at the company since its partnership with Google was behind the delay.