Samsung patents smart contact lenses armed with a built-in camera, sensors

Samsung’s dream of creating smart contact lenses capable of capturing images and shooting videos has just drawn closer. The company has been granted the South Korean patent for smart contact lenses with an in-built camera.

There is no guarantee that Samsung’s smart contact lenses coupled with a camera will be developed into a commercial product. But it provides a glimpse into what tech companies are doing to unlock new revenue streams as their domains cool. For example, contact lenses with an inbuilt camera could be used to enhance augmented reality experience.

What’s in the patent?

Samsung’s patent shows a contact lens that has a tiny display and enriched with a camera, sensors, and an antenna. The sensors in the lens will help with detecting movement. The contact lens product will be able to project images directly into the eye of the wearer.

The wearer can operate the smart contact lens product through actions such as blinking to capture images. An external device such as a smartphone can be used for processing and beam the content.

Samsung’s camera-themed smart contact lenses appear to offer advancement over traditional smart glasses such as Google Glass.

For example, a smart contact lens could render higher image quality. As such, Samsung’s patent sales that smart contact lenses can deliver more natural and superior quality augmented reality experiences than smart glasses.

Google’s Glass has more or less similar features as Samsung’s smart contact lens, but instead of using blinking to input images, it uses winking.

Samsung’s patent on smart contact lenses with a built-in camera was filed in 2014 in both South Korea and the U.S. It was around the same time that Google also filed two patents relating to smart contact lenses in the U.S.

If patent filing by Samsung and Google is anything to go by, the two tech giants can be seen preparing to go neck-to-neck in smart contact lenses market. While Google’s Glass has mostly been seen as an augmented reality device, its smart lenses are designed to help with health monitoring. For example, think about a contact lens that notifies diabetics on time when their blood sugar falls to potentially dangerous levels.

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