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Google's smart contact lens


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3 replies to this topic

#1 of 4 Sam Posten

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Posted January 16 2014 - 06:05 PM

For diabetes, not to make glassholes less obvious.
http://googleblog.bl...ntact-lens.html

I did NOT see that one coming!

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#2 of 4 DaveF

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Posted January 19 2014 - 07:55 PM

http://gigaom.com/20...contact-lenses/

 

This I thought compelling.

 

For example,  why would they ignore the fact that as a diabetes patient, it is generally recommended that I not wear contact lenses. Yes, I understand that there are many different opinions about this, but it is generally thought of as smart to not wear contact lenses, as they always carry the risk of increased complications for diabetics. And on top of that if you have say, astigmatism (like I do), then contacts are less of an option.

 

This I didn't understand.

Instead of trying to develop a contact lens that will still be quite expensive for many of the world’s poor, diabetic patients, why not focus all monetary and intellectual energies towards developing a more simpler solution that can be built at scale, very cheaply? Why not take the open source ethos and develop a product that actually be given away to anyone — say, emerging world pharmaceutical companies — who wants to manufacture it cheaply? The licensing terms could/should include theTom’s Shoes Principle: buy one, give one away for free to someone who cannot afford them.

 

 

I was unpersuaded by the argument that contacts are too expensive, so google should make a something else that requires a phone to report glucose levels. If money is the problem, requiring an electronics gadget should immediately rule it out. Likewise, any disposable patch. Flipping it around, contact lenses are molded plastic. Disposable Rx lenses cost about $100/yr in the US. Gas-permeable lenses cost a few hundred and 3-5 years with care (I know, I wear them).

 

The expensive part of this solution is likely the printed electronics, particularly making it comfortable. But making it a patch that can be worn on the arm of -- presumably in the scenario Om posits -- a low-wage manual laborer and surface a whole day. Or even multiple days, to keep cost down, with less frequent replacement, seems to also have challenges.

 

I don't know that contacts for diabetics are a good idea: his initial comment suggests not. But that notwithstanding, I'm unpersuaded by his case.



#3 of 4 DaveF

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Posted January 19 2014 - 08:13 PM

I replied more succinctly in Om's comments:

 

A quick point: contacts can correct some astigmatism.
 
I found your introduction compelling: that contacts are known to be bad for diabetics and pursuing that shows Google simply isn’t paying attention to basic parameters. (I don’t know anything diabetes, so I’ll trust that’s correct.)
 
I don’t understand the longer point about costs. You argue contacts are too expensive, but argue in favor of other micro-electronic devices that connect wirelessly to phones. Is this really less expensive? You assert it, but it’s not obvious, and not really supported in your essay.
 
 
As a contacts wearer, I see the appeal of Google’s project. If they could report on my health, that would be a free benefit; no additional effort on my part. That brings it back around to your starting point: fundamentally wrong choice to report on diabetes, since a diabetic won’t be wearing contacts.


#4 of 4 Edwin-S

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Posted January 20 2014 - 09:49 PM

I think Google should stop announcing tech that is so far away from practical use that it isn't even funny. All announcing prototype tech (that may never see the light of day) does is raise false hopes.


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