Google and Novartis eye multibillion-dollar diabetes monitoring market, for starters


Suddenly, Google Glass and the ever-expanding universe of wearable devices that monitor everything from fitness levels to vital signs seem obsolete.

After unveiling in January 2014 a prototype contact lens that could continuously monitor blood glucose levels in diabetics, Google this week announced a licensing agreement with life sciences giant Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) to develop and commercialize the smart lens technology for all ocular medical uses. But helping diabetics manage their condition without having to take blood samples throughout the day is just the tip of this technology iceberg.

Novartis also has its eye on developing a remedy for people suffering from presbyopia, a condition that prevents them from reading without wearing corrective glasses. "The smart lens has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye's natural autofocus on near objects," notes a press release announcing the licensing agreement. Think autofocus camera. A device of this kind is "the holy grail of vision care," Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez said during a phone interview with media outlets.
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