Google definitely has a thing for eyewear. After the failure that was Google Glass, it has and continues to fawn over over contact lenses instead, embedding anything that can be embedded inside of something that will sit extremely close to our eyes. Most of those, however, reside in patents and this latest patent takes into the realm of spy fiction. Filed almost a year ago, this patent basically uses our unique irises as a biometric fingerprint, which the contact lens can collect and compare with a stored reference for identity matching.
Although fingerprint security is still catching on, some are already looking towards irises as the next frontier when it comes to biometric security. Deemed by some to be more accurate and less prone to being fooled, iris scanning technology has the disadvantage of relying on less accurate smartphone camera technology.
Google’s solution, then, is to take the sensor as close to the eye as it can be. Light sensors embedded in the contacts can gather the light that is reflected off the iris. This is then assembled into an image which, in turn, is compared to a reference image. Whether the two match would be the basis for secure identification.
Considering the complexity of electronics and computing components involved, this patent seemingly builds on another patent that Google was just awarded in March. Also related to contact lenses, that patent described how sensors and chips would be embedded in the contacts, wrapped in polymer layers. The latest patent doesn’t explicitly describe the applications that it could be used for, but considering the nature of iris scanning, it will undoubtedly be utilized for identification and authorization.
Google revealed its fascination with smart contact lenses early last year when it showed off the ideas in a Google X project, the same Google X that gave birth to Google Glass. That one was more focused on health, potentially measuring glucose levels through the tears that our eyes regular secrete. Later, Google and Novartis would announce a partnership that aims to make that a reality. So far, no version of any Google smart contacts have been made public.