Google has patented a contact lens that can scan the wearer’s iris. The lens works by scanning light reflected off of the iris via embedded sensors.
The company hasn’t revealed any specific applications for the technology, but presumably it could be used as a kind of continuous biometric authentication, if the lenses are able to transmit the information. In access control, for example: A connected door lock might automatically release when it senses the approach of contact lenses that have authentication the identity of an individual authorized to have access.
It sounds very high-tech, but the question remains of how many consumers will be interested in such a product. Many already find contact lenses rather invasive, and many more will be further unnerved knowing that their contact lenses are constantly scanning their eyes. There’s also the matter of Google Glass – another connected set of eyewear developed by the company that turned out to fall far short of expectations in terms of its commercial success; a potentially instructive lesson on consumer predilections.
Nevertheless, consumers are increasingly interested in wearable tech, and the associated markets continue to grow and show promise. As attitudes in the mass market change, there could come a time when the market is ripe for exactly this kind of technology, and Google will be ready.