However, the big potential, as described in the patent applications, seems to be the ability of Google's special contact lens to process the information and send it to a peripheral devices, which may give blind people a way to "see" the world around them. For example, by acting as the "eyes", this contact lens may give turn-by-turn voice guidance to people who can't see by relaying information to a smartphone or an earpiece.
The patent application was first spotted by Patent Bolt, a website that tracks newly-filed patent applications.
The applications credits Nathan Pletcher, Babak Amir Parviz and Olivia Hatalsky as inventors of the contact lens with the camera. The same team is also behind the Google contact lens that will reportedly have a sensor to monitor glucose level in the body. Details of this contact lens were revealed by Google in January this year.
The patent application filed by Google says, "this disclosure relates to systems and/or methods for capturing image data representing a scene in a gaze of a viewer via a thin image capture component integrated on or within a contact lens, processing the image data and employing the processed image data to perform functions locally on the contact lens or remotely on one or more remote devices."
In notes that accompany drawings in the patent application, Google says that its contact lens will not obstruct the viewing field of the user. It also says that the camera in the contact lens will be able to follow the gaze of a viewer.
"As the wearer's gaze shifts, the contact lens will follow the shift in gaze, thereby allowing for generating the image data corresponding to an image of the scene in the shifted gaze. Additionally, the image data can be processed to detect light, colours, pattern of colours, objects, faces, motion, or any other suitable information that can be derived from processing one or more images," Google notes in the patent application.