Google is developing smart contact lenses that detect health and autofocus eyes

Google is working with Swiss drug maker Novartis to create smart contact lenses. The eye worn devices will be able to detect a user's health or autofocus a person's vision.

The first contact lens will be for diabetics. It will be able to measure glucose levels from the tear fluid in the eye and wirelessly transmit the data to a mobile. This will be a huge jump forward for diabetics who currently have to prick their finger for a blood reading as many as ten times a day.

The other lens will be for people who have trouble focusing. Much like a camera's autofocus this will allow wearers to see more clearly where they would otherwise struggle to focus.

The lenses will be equipped with non-invasive sensors, microchips and other minaturised electronics – all of which are presumably mainly translucent. The lenses are being developed by Google's Project X team, the same department that developed Google Glass.

How much money was involved in this deal wasn't clear but the blood-sugar tracking market alone is estimated to be worth more than $12 billion by 2017.

Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez said he hoped that a product could be on the market in about five years. He also said: "I think you're going to see more and more areas of unmet medical need where companies like Novartis are going to take a non-traditional approach to addressing those needs."

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