We knew Google was experimenting with computerized contact lenses, and we knew Google's been selling cameras that strap to your face. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Google wants to place a camera on your eyeball. But we are anyway.
The tech giant filed a patent application (published last month) that describes a contact lens that can take photographs and transmit them to a smartphone or other device. Similar to Google Glass, which almost appears quaint compared to a freaking contact lens computer, this device would be controlled by blinking. The patent was discovered by the blog Patent Bolt, where you can read a lengthy report.
A sketch of Google's hypothetical contact-cum-camera.
Like it did when it proposed a glucose-monitoring contact lens for diabetes patients, Google pitched its eye camera as a cause for common good.
To make its case, Google describes a situation in which the contact lens could prove helpful. Imagine a blind man walking toward an intersection. Without Google's camera lens, the blind man may not be able to spot a moving car, putting him in danger. With one, the camera could give the person an audio warning via his phone.
But the patent also mentions some superhuman abilities the lens could give healthy individuals, including changing focus and offering a wider peripheral view.
As with all patents, this shrunken version of Google Glass is a castle-in-the-sky idea that may never come to market. But Google engineers would not be the first to dream of cameras nestled right against our eyeballs. I mean, even "Futurama" called it with its "eyePhone" episode, though Google's version does seem less painful: