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    Google patents the bionic eye

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    Alejandra Rangel

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    Google has filed a patent application describing "an intraocular device comprising an electronic lens that allows the control of the overall optical power of the device itself", as reported by Forbes, according to which the Mountain View patent could be placed among the numerous initiatives so far-sighted as to be difficult to spend on the market in the short term.

    The patent published on April 28, 2016 describes a device capable of correct vision without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. However, the operation of the particular apparatus requires a rather intrusive intervention. In fact, it is a question of surgically removing the natural lens from the capsule from the lens of the patient's eye, replacing it with the device object of the patent, implanted through the injection of a fluid. The latter solidifies, creating a transparent membrane that fixes the lens inside the bulb, coupling it to the lens of the eye.

    Also from the description we learn that the device to be injected into the eye contains some components: some sensors, a radio chip, a memory for data storage, a battery and the electronic lens. The patent talks about the possibility of powering the device wirelessly through an antenna, also allowing the eyeball to be interfaced with an external device, such as a PC.

    The electronic lens can be controlled giving the possibility to better focus the images of near and far objects on the retina. In practice, it is an artificial contact lens capable of improving vision. Its peculiarity consists in the fact that, thanks to its regulation and control capacity, it can be implanted once for the patient's entire life .

    This is not the first time that Google has taken an interest in technologies that affect vision. Already in January 2014, the Californian company had filed a patent concerning particular smart contact lenses capable of measuring the amount of glucose present in the tear fluid of the wearer, a first attempt by Google, on a medical and health level, to provide valuable support to people with diabetes.
    The project is now part of Verily, a life sciences-focused division headed by Alphabet. Three months later, Big G filed a further patent, called Google Contact Lens, which describes a contact lens with an integrated camera. Not surprisingly, the inventor of the device described in the new patent is Andrew Jason Conrad, head of the Verily division and proponent of the Google Contact Lens project.
    In recent years, the Mountain View company has often invested in research and ambitious technologies to improve the quality of life of people: as in other cases, however, the formalization of the patent does not guarantee at all that we will soon see a lens on the market. electronic contact. In fact, it is even possible that the project never sees the light.

    Thomas Zaffino

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