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Smart contacts may be here sooner than you think

Smart contacts may not be that far off

Samsung recently filed a patent for smart contacts, lenses with built-in antennae to send info to – and receive it from – a smart device.

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi story, but we may be getting closer to the reality of wearable, smart contact lenses.

According to the Samsung enthusiast site, SamMobile, Samsung recently applied for, and was granted, a patent for smart contact technology in Korea. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be throwing technology on top of our eyeballs in the immediate future, but it seems more and more likely that it is inevitable.

Although Google Glass wasn’t quite the next stage in wearable technology that it was hyped to be, the idea to display information where only the wearer can see it – and take pictures based on your line of sight – isn’t going away any time soon. According to the patent, the contact would feature a built in camera with sensors controlled by blinking. The antennae in the contacts would then transmit the data to an external device like a smartphone or tablet, where it would be processed and saved.

Samsung isn’t the only one considering this type of technology, nor is it an especially new idea. Samsung initially attempted to file for a smart contacts related patent in 2014, but it was beat to the punch by Google, who received two patents for smart contacts. Its slant seemed to be a little different though, and included a patent for flexible technology that could analyze the wearer’s tear fluid to test their blood sugar levels. The technology used for that was similar to what Samsung is considering though.

The tech is still very much in the experimental phases, and there is a chance it will never see the light of day, but it feels like a logical next step (albeit possibly an uncomfortable one). Google Glasses didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but if a company is able to offer something people can wear that is – in theory – completely unobtrusive and gives them some tangible benefit, it seems likely that someone will capitalize on it, even if that isn’t Samsung.

Beyond just the somewhat unnecessarily voyeuristic and borderline creepy idea of contacts that can take pictures without anyone noticing, – again, theoretically – the lenses could provide the wearer with all manner of information sent via a smartphone. From maps to facial recognition to the ability to identify ingredients in foods (handy for people with allergies) could all be displayed in a way that only you see it.

In short, it could fulfill the promise of the Google Glasses, just without the ugly glasses.

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