A new patent registered by Google and inventor Andrew Jason Conrad for a future Google intra-ocular device has been released to the public. According to Google, this is “an electronic lens that can be controlled to control the overall optical power of the device”. This could essentially be kind of like a computer inserted into the eye.
In the patent, Google mentions a processor, antenna, user controls, a display and communications interface. What the communications interface is and what it will connect to is unknown. Possibly it’ll be a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone.
The lens capsule could be flexible, with some rigid parts. Flexibility would allow the intra-ocular device to be accommodated to the eye. However, it is unlikely the whole device could be done without any rigid parts.
A controller would be used to sense any ‘deformation, stress, strain, curvature, pressure or other information’ in the device. This means that whatever is happen with the intra-ocular device would be known to the wearer or a third party.
Powering the device
Something interesting mentioned in the patent is an “energy-harvesting antenna”. What exactly that would be, how it would harvest energy and where it would harvest energy from is unknown. This sounds like how the device will be powered.
The patent claims that a battery may or may not be used in the device. A solid-state, thin-film battery is mentioned. Another example of what could power the device is a wireless power antenna. Glasses and a device put next to the bed are included as possible methods of charging.
The method used to the put the intra-ocular into the eye involves a fluid into the lens capsule of the eye. The intra-ocular device is placed in the fluid in the lens capsule. The fluid solidified in the lens capsule. The lens capsule and the intra-ocular device are coupled together.
The intra-ocular device will involve removing a natural lens of the eye. The Google intra-ocular device will be put in its place. There with be a lens capsule that will contain the intra-ocular device. The wearer, it seems, will be able to see something projected from the intra-ocular device. What is seen will be between 9 to 20 centimetres away.
What will come of this is yet to be seen. How many people will be willing to put a Google intra-ocular device into their eye would be difficult to gauge. But, the patent is there and Google is working on something.