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This Is How Novartis Is Advancing Google Technology

Google's electronics-embedded lens technology could be used on humans sooner than you think.

Chris Newmarker

Google contact lens
The smart lens technology, developed at Google, includes noninvasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics embedded within contact lenses. (Image courtesy of Google)

Novartis is moving forward in its partnership to develop "smart" contact lenses with Google. It plans to start testing the technology on human beings next year, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez tells Swiss newspaper La Temps.

The first human trials will involve a smart lens that provides vision correction for people suffering from presybopia, an age-related long-sightedness that causes people to turn to reading glasses, according to Reuters, which followed up with Novartis after theLa Temps interview.

The news comes more than a year after Novartis' Alcon eye care division announced a partnership with Google to commercialize the technology, which has been touted as a way to allow diabetics to one day monitor their blood glucose without finger pricks.

The smart lens technology includes noninvasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics embedded within contact lenses.

"Novartis 10 years ago would not have embraced the team that brought that deal forward," Jimenez, an American who joined Novartis in 2007 and has been CEO since 2010, told Bloomberg earlier this year about the Google partnership.

Novartis has been embracing digital health technology under Jimenez's leadership. Other projects in the space include pills and inhalers with sensors to warn patients when they've missed a dose. (The company has had partnerships for years with Proteus Digital Health.)

There are also clinical tests that measure walking speed and balance of multiple sclerosis using Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing technology, which Microsoft uses with Xboxes.

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M Philadelphia, October 7-8.

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Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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