One of the problems with "wearables"? Everyone knows you're wearing one.

They can see it on your wrist, tracking your pulse or paces. Maybe they can see it on your glasses. Maybe they judged you and ran away. Maybe they started to tell you about their exercise routine.

All of that--and a few more important things--might change in the future, thanks to ideas like the one Google was awarded a U.S. patent for earlier this week. The patent--which was initially filed on July 26, 2012--is for a contact lens that "harvests light received and generates power from the harvested light."

In other words, the patent is for a solar-powered contact lens. What's more, these contact lenses also possess a fascinating set of potential capabilities. Here's a rundown of those capabilities, based on descriptions in the patent. 

1. Monitor body temperature and blood-alcohol level. 

As Mike Murphy points out in his story about the patent on Quartz, the patent suggests that the contact lens could potentially "send information back to another device about the wearer's temperature or blood-alcohol level."

2. Help wearers handle allergies. 

Specifically, the patent reads that one of the sensors "can sense any number of biological, chemical and/or microbiological features in an environment including, but not limited to, levels of hazardous materials, levels of allergens, the presence of various organisms or species or the like." Those allergens include tree or grass pollen, pet dander, and dust mite excretions.

3. Scan barcodes or price tags. 

The patent specifies circumstances under which the contact lenses and the devices you'd use with them can "receive information detailing electronic coupons, pricing, warranty information or the like." A cashier wearing the contact lens would be able to scan and process coupons and price tags very quickly. The cashier's lenses would essentially become the scanner. 

4. Track glucose levels. 

What's more, the patent notes that the lens can potentially "include circuitry for outputting the sensed information to a reader." That would give a doctor or a parent the ability to gauge if the level of the substance were too high or low. As Murphy notes, this sounds like "an extension of another Google lens project, which aims to help diabetics track their glucose levels."

5. Generate power from both the sun and ambient light sources. 

The lenses include a "photodetector" which "harvests light emitted from a device and generates power from the harvested light." That photodetector, notes the patent, can be "a photovoltaic cell or a solar cell."

In this regard--their potential use of transparent photovoltaics--the lenses are comparable to what MIT's Dean of Innovation, Vladimir Bulović, is working on. For example, one of Bulović's three startups, Ubiquitous Energy, makes clear coatings for use on the displays of Kindles or another mobile devices. "You'd never have to recharge it again," says Bulović. The reason? The coating would catch enough solar power and ambient light to give the device a seemingly infinite amount of power.

The coating also has the capability to power office buildings, if you apply it to the windows of the buildings. In addition, it could provide perpetual power to hearing aids, if you put the coating on, say, your eyeglasses. Google's patent might one day do for contact lenses what Ubiquitous Energy's coating can do for conventional spectacles. 

6. Talk to your other devices.

The patent mentions that the contact lenses should be able to communicate with devices such as "personal digital assistants (PDAs), audio/video devices, mobile phones, MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) players, personal computers, laptops, tablets." 

7. Authenticate identities.

It's just one line in the patent, but it's there: "Retinal analysis of a user can be performed and an optical signal transmitted in response to an authentication request," reads the document. How this would work with the lenses isn't explicit in the patent. Meanwhile we can content ourselves with sci-fi renditions of retinal verifications:

 

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","inc_code_only_text":null,"inc_pubdate":"2015-10-15 13:09:00","inc_promo_date":"2015-10-15 13:09:00","inc_custom_pubdate":null,"inc_feature_image_override":"","inc_feature_image_background_color_override":null,"inc_show_feature_imageflag":true,"inc_feature_image_style":"pano","inc_image_caption_override":null,"inc_autid":3181,"inc_typid":1,"inc_staid":7,"inc_serid":0,"inc_prtid":0,"inc_activeflag":true,"inc_copyeditedflag":false,"inc_flag_for_reviewflag":false,"inc_lock_articleflag":false,"inc_react_displayflag":true,"inc_filelocation":"ilan-mochari/google-patent-solar-powered-contact-lens.html","inc_override_url":null,"inc_hide_article_sidebarflag":false,"inc_custom_sidebar":null,"inc_show_read_moreflag":true,"inc_display_video_at_bottomflag":false,"inc_autoplay_videoflag":true,"inc_full_width_read_moreflag":false,"inc_custom_footer":null,"inc_custom_teaser":null,"inc_hide_video_prerollflag":false,"inc_custom_css":null,"inc_custom_javascript":null,"inc_canonical_url":null,"inc_meta_keywords":"Google, contact lens, solar power, patent, wearable","inc_column_name_override":null,"inc_newsworthyflag":true,"inc_notepad":"One of the sensors described in the patent \"can sense one or more features in an environment outside of the wearer.\" That is, in addition to gauging information from the tear film of your eye (measurables like your body temperature or blood-alcohol level), the lens can sense external conditions, too.\r\n\r\nOne of the sensors \"can detect a fluid on the contact lens output from the eye of the wearer of the contact lens.\" Specifically, this sensor can sense \"a level of glucose, lactate and/or urea in the fluid.\"\r\n\r\n\r\n
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\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFIG. 8 provides a schematic diagram of an exemplary networked or distributed computing environment with which one or more aspects described in this disclosure can be associated. The distributed computing environment includes computing objects 810, 812, etc. and computing objects or devices 820, 822, 824, 826, 828, etc., which can include programs, methods, data stores, programmable logic, etc., as represented by applications 830, 832, 834, 836, 838. It can be appreciated that computing objects 810, 812, etc. and computing objects or devices 820, 822, 824, 826, 828, etc. can include different devices, such as active contact lenses (and components thereof), personal digital assistants (PDAs), audio/video devices, mobile phones, MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) players, personal computers, laptops, tablets, etc. \r\n\r\nEach computing object 810, 812, etc. and computing objects or devices 820, 822, 824, 826, 828, etc. can communicate with one or more other computing objects 810, 812, etc. and computing objects or devices 820, 822, 824, 826, 828, etc. by way of the communications network 840, either directly or indirectly. Even though illustrated as a single element in FIG. 8, network 840 can include other computing objects and computing devices that provide services to the system of FIG. 8, and/or can represent multiple interconnected networks, which are not shown. \r\n\r\nIn a network environment in which the communications network/bus 840 can be the Internet, the computing objects 810, 812, etc. can be Web servers, file servers, media servers, etc. with which the client computing objects or devices 820, 822, 824, 826, 828, etc. communicate via any of a number of known protocols, such as the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). \r\n\r\nExemplary Computing Device \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n of example, but not limitation, the photodetector 106 can be a photovoltaic cell or a solar cell. \r\nMIT Professor Vladimir Bulović runs three startups and holds 75 patents covering innovations in solar energy and photodetection, light emitting diodes, lasers, television displays and lighting, chemical sensors, programmable memories, and micro-electro machines. IMAGE: Maria E. Aglietti/Materials Processing Center/MIT\r\n \r\nIf you could learn about innovation from an entrepreneur who holds more than 85 patents--and is the co-founder of three promising nanotechnology startups with a combined 200 employees--you'd probably jump on that chance. \r\n\r\nEspecially if that entrepreneur also happened to be an MIT professor. \r\n\r\nThat's why I was eager to hear what serial entrepreneur Vladimir Bulović, also Associate Dean for Innovation at MIT's School of Engineering, had to say in his Oct. 1 keynote address, called \"Redefining Innovation.\" He gave the talk at Innovation Day 2015, an annual conference hosted by Cambridge Consultants, a design, innovation, and product-development firm based in Boston. \r\n\r\nBulović did not disappoint. Here are three big ideas he emphasized, using examples from his private sector career and his daily involvement with the MIT community: \r\n\r\n[close X]\r\n\r\nAdvertisement\r\nClick Here to Learn More\r\n1. Solar energy will one day power more than you think. \r\n\r\nOne of Bulović's startups, Ubiquitous Energy, is developing transparent solar technologies you can use on any surface. In plainer English, the company makes clear coatings for use on the displays of Kindles or another mobile devices. \"You'd never have to recharge it again,\" said Bulović. The reason? The coating would catch enough solar power and ambient light to give the device a seemingly infinite amount of power. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n communication. In one or more aspects, a contact lens can include: a substrate that forms at least a portion of the body of the contact lens; an optical communication device disposed on or within the substrate; and a photodetector disposed on or within the substrate, wherein the photodetector harvests light emitted from a device and generates power from the harvested light, wherein the device is located external to the contact lens. \r\n\r\nbile devices. \"You'd never have to recharge it again,\" said Bulović. The reason? The coating would catch enough solar power and ambient light to give the device a seemingly infinite amount of power. \r\n\r\nThis technology--the name of the field is transparent photovoltaics--also has the capability to power office buildings, if you apply it to the windows of the buildings. In addition, it could provide perpetual power to hearing aids, if you put the coating on, say, your eyeglasses. \r\n\r\nMIT's Innovation Dean on 3 Big Predictions for the Future of Technology\r\nMIT professor Vladimir Bulović, also the founder of three startups, says we're at the beginning of a vast opportunity in nanotechnology and solar energy.\r\n\r\nSensors can be employed on the contact lens to facilitate power generation from light. Photodetectors are one such type of sensor that can facilitate power generation. Photodetectors are typically made of a photodiode and circuitry that outputs a current in response to detected light. These types of detectors can harvest light emitted from the light source and generate power from the harvested light. \r\n\r\nFor example, in some aspects, the sensor 108 can detect a fluid on the contact lens output from the eye of the wearer of the contact lens. The sensor 108 can sense a level of glucose, lactate and/or urea in the fluid. In some embodiments, the contact lens can include circuitry for evaluating the level of the substance in the fluid. In some embodiments, the contact lens can include circuitry for outputting the sensed information to a reader. In either aspect, the level of the biological matter can be compared to a threshold. A determination can be made as to whether the level is too high or too low based on the level detected. \r\n\r\nThe tag 400 can include or be associated with a circuit 402 disposed on or within the tag 400. In some aspects, the circuit 402 can include an optical communication device 404, a photodetector 406, a sensor 408, a memory 410 and/or a microprocessor 412. In various aspects, the optical communication device 404, photodetector 406, sensor 408, memory 410 and/or microprocessor 412 can be optically, electrically and/or communicatively coupled to one another to perform one or more functions of the tag 400. As such, in some aspects, the tag 400 can be configured to have a level of porosity such that fluids incident on the contact lens can be detected and sensing can be performed by the sensor 408. In some aspects, the tag 400 can be transparent or translucent such that the photodetector 406 can receive light for power generation. \r\n\r\nIn some aspects, the tag 400 can include information identifying the wearer of the contact lens, information stored and/or detailing features of the wearer of the contact lens or the like. \r\n\r\nIn some aspects, the tag 400 can be associated with an item (e.g., item of merchandise) and/or can be interrogated by a device (e.g., device 116, device 316, reader 222) for merchandising and/or inventory purposes. \r\n\r\nFor example, in some aspects, a light source can be associated with or coupled to an item of merchandise. The optical signal can be received by the photodetector 406 to power the components of the tag 400, and the tag 400 can output information via the optical communication device 404. The information output by the tag 400 can be communicated via modulation of the optical communication device 404 as described in one or more of the embodiments. \r\n\r\nIn some aspects, the light source associated with or coupled to the item of merchandise can transmit information about the item to the tag 400 (e.g., by modulating the optical signal with data about the merchandise). For example, the tag 400 can receive information detailing electronic coupons, pricing, warranty information or the like. The information can be received by and/or stored at the memory 410 of the tag 400. \r\n\r\nIn some aspects, an interrogator (e.g., device 116, device 316, reader 222) at a point of sale can output an optical signal that can cause the tag 400 to responsively output information related to the merchandise. For example, the tag 400 can respond with information indicative of an electronic coupon for the item of merchandise. For example, the interrogator can be operated by a cashier or other point of sale personnel to cause the tag 400 to output an optical signal detailing the terms of the coupon (in response to the tag 400 of the contact lens receiving an optical signal from the interrogator). \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nurning now to the device 116, in lieu of or in addition to receiving a modulated signal, in some aspects, the device 116 can include a light source 118 that can generate light. For example, the device 116 can generate light, in particular, or an optical signal, generally (e.g., a flash of a camera). The optical signal 124 can be emitted from an optical-signal emitting component 122 of the device 116 in various aspects. In some aspects, the optical-signal emitting component 122 can be a component that generates a flash in a camera, for example. \r\n\r\nIn some aspects, the device 116 can be positioned within a particular proximity to the contact lens 102 prior to generating the optical signal such that the optical signal 124 emitted from the device is received by the contact lens 102. For example, the device 116 can be within one to two feet of the contact lens 102 when the optical signal is generated. As such, the photovoltaic cells and/or solar cells can receive the optical signal and convert the signal to power the components (e.g., the one or more sensors). \r\n\r\nIn some aspects, as described above, the device 116 can also be adapted to receive the modulated signal from the optical communication device 110. For example, the device 116 can receive the modulated signal at optical-signal receiving component 120 of the device 116. Optical-signal receiving component 120 can be any number of different types of receivers that can receive optical signals. The device 116 can determine the information received based on the modulated signal generated by the optical communication device 110. \r\n\r\nIn various aspects, the device 116 can be or include any of a number of different devices having hardware and/or software that transmits and/or receives an optical signal. In some aspects, the hardware that generates and/or transmits the optical signal can be general purpose hardware that currently exists on a mobile phone or camera. For example, in some aspects, the hardware can be hardware that generates a flash that is emitted from a camera with a flash feature or from a mobile phone (or other device) having a camera with a flash feature. In these aspects, the flash feature can function as an optical transmitter while the camera lens can function as an optical receiver. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nContact lens employing optical signals for power and/or communication \r\n\r\nAbstract\r\nApparatus, systems and methods employing contact lens sensors are provided. In some aspects, a contact lens includes a substrate that forms at least a portion of the body of the contact lens; an optical communication device disposed on or within the substrate; and a photodetector disposed on or within the substrate, wherein the photodetector harvests light emitted from a device and generates power from the harvested light. In some aspects, an apparatus comprises a tag having a circuit including: an optical communication device; and a photodetector that harvests light received and generates power from the harvested light. The tag can be disposed on or within a contact lens in various aspects.\r\n\r\nhttp://qz.com/523366/google-wants-to-power-a-contact-lens-wearable-with-solar-power/\r\n\r\nhttp://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=54&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&s1=Google.ASNM.&p=2&OS=AN/Google&RS=AN/Google\r\n\r\nIn some aspects, the sensor 108 can sense one or more features in an environment outside of the wearer of the contact lens 102. For example, the sensor 108 can sense any number of biological, chemical and/or microbiological features in an environment including, but not limited to, levels of hazardous materials, levels of allergens, the presence of various organisms or species or the like. For example, in various embodiments, the sensor 108 can sense a level of one or more different allergens (e.g., tree or grass pollen, pet dander, dust mite excretions) in the environment. \r\n\r\nThe sensor 108 can sense one or more features of the wearer of the contact lens 102. For example, the sensor 108 can sense any number of biological features of the wearer of the contact lens 102 including, but not limited to, glucose, lactate or urea levels, internal body temperature and/or blood alcohol content of the wearer of the contact lens 102 as described in further detail below. \r\n\r\nFor example, in some aspects, the sensor 108 can detect fluid on the substrate 104 from the eye of the wearer of the contact lens 102. The sensor 108 can sense level of glucose, lactate and/or urea in the fluid. In some embodiments, the contact lens 102 can include circuitry for evaluating the level of the substance in the fluid. In some embodiments, the contact lens 102 can include circuitry for outputting the sensed information to a reader. In either aspect, the level of the biological matter can be compared to a threshold. A determination can be made as to whether the level is too high or too low based on the level detected. \r\n\r\nSIGHT FOR SORE EYES\r\nGoogle wants to power a contact lens wearable with solar power\r\n\r\nby mike murphy today patent awarded yesterday\r\n\r\nIn the future, your wearables might be a bit harder to spot than an Apple Watch or Google Glass. In a patent awarded Oct. 13, Google outlined a design for a wearable communication device, replete with sensors, memory and a microprocessor, shaped like a contact lens.\r\n\r\nThis lens would at least be partially powered by what the patent calls “optical signals.” In theory, a tiny photodetector and solar cells could harvest light signals from an external source, that could then be converted into electrical power. According to the patent, this would allow the lens to be powered by camera flashes (however blinding that might be for the wearer) and ambient sunlight.\r\n\r\nThe lens, being powered by another device.(US Patent and Trademark Office)\r\nThe patent suggests that the contact lens could send information back to another device about the wearer’s temperature or blood-alcohol level. It could sense the environment around it, with the patent suggesting that the lens would be able to tell if there were allergens in the air, or other “hazardous materials.” The patent adds that the lens would be able to communicate with computers or mobile devices, and potentially read information from a range of objects, including price tags.\r\n\r\nWhile there are both flexible solar panels, and small solar panels, there hasn’t yet been a wearable that has implemented this sort of energy technology, let alone on something a tiny as a contact lens. And there’s no guarantee that Google is actually building this technology yet, though the lens does sound like an extension of another Google lens project, which aims to help diabetics track their glucose levels, and apparently charges through radio frequency.\r\n\r\nGoogle wasn’t immediately available for comment. We’ll have to see it to believe it.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n","inc_track_changesflag":false,"time_updated":"2018-05-17 11:50:03","channels":[{"id":7,"cnl_name":"Innovate","cnl_filelocation":"innovate","cnl_featuretype":"None","cnl_custom_color":"9DC786","cnl_calculated_color":null,"cnl_contributor_accessflag":true,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":null},{"id":374,"cnl_name":"Wire","cnl_filelocation":"wire","cnl_featuretype":null,"cnl_custom_color":null,"cnl_calculated_color":null,"cnl_contributor_accessflag":false,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":1},{"id":5,"cnl_name":"Technology","cnl_filelocation":"technology","cnl_featuretype":"None","cnl_custom_color":null,"cnl_calculated_color":"9DC786","cnl_contributor_accessflag":true,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":2},{"id":262,"cnl_name":"Patents and Trademarks","cnl_filelocation":"patents-and-trademarks","cnl_featuretype":"None","cnl_custom_color":null,"cnl_calculated_color":"9DC786","cnl_contributor_accessflag":false,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":3}],"categories":[],"primarychannelarray":null,"authors":[{"id":3662,"aut_name":"Ilan Mochari","aut_usrid":0,"aut_base_filelocation":"ilan-mochari","aut_imgid":31407,"aut_twitter_id":"IlanMochari","aut_title":"Senior writer, Inc.","aut_blurb":"Ilan Mochari's debut novel, Zinsky the Obscure (Fomite Press, 2013), earned rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist. Boston's NPR station named it one of 10 \"Good Reads for the Summer.\" He is a senior writer for Inc. magazine.","aut_footer_blurb":null,"aut_column_name":null,"aut_atyid":1,"aut_newsletter_location":null,"authorimage":"https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/100x100/Ilan_Mochari_Inc.com_31407.jpg","sortorder":null}],"images":[{"id":68375,"sortorder":null}],"inlineimages":[],"photoEssaySlides":null,"readMoreArticles":null,"slideshows":[],"videos":[],"bzwidgets":null,"relatedarticles":null,"comparisongrids":[],"products":[],"keys":["Lindsay Blakely","Innovate","Wire","Technology","Patents and Trademarks","Ilan Mochari","Inc.com staff writer"],"meta_description":"The next game-changing wearable may be utterly transparent. ","brandview":null,"internationalversion":[],"imagemodels":[{"id":68375,"img_foreignkey":"159164402","img_gettyflag":true,"img_reusableflag":false,"img_rightsflag":false,"img_usrid":0,"img_pan_crop":null,"img_tags":null,"img_reference_name":"getty_159164402.jpg","img_caption":null,"img_custom_credit":null,"img_bucketref":null,"img_panoramicref":"getty_159164402.jpg","img_super_panoramicref":null,"img_tile_override_imageref":null,"img_skyscraperref":null,"img_gallery_imageref":null,"credit":"Getty Images","sizes":{"panoramic":{"original":"uploaded_files/image/getty_159164402.jpg","1230x1672":"uploaded_files/image/1230x1672/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","1940x900":"uploaded_files/image/1940x900/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","1270x734":"uploaded_files/image/1270x734/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","0x734":"uploaded_files/image/0x734/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","1150x540":"uploaded_files/image/1150x540/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","970x450":"uploaded_files/image/970x450/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","640x290":"uploaded_files/image/640x290/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","635x367":"uploaded_files/image/635x367/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","0x367":"uploaded_files/image/0x367/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","575x270":"uploaded_files/image/575x270/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","385x240":"uploaded_files/image/385x240/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","336x336":"uploaded_files/image/336x336/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","300x520":"uploaded_files/image/300x520/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","300x200":"uploaded_files/image/300x200/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","284x160":"uploaded_files/image/284x160/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","155x90":"uploaded_files/image/155x90/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","100x100":"uploaded_files/image/100x100/getty_159164402_68375.jpg","50x50":"uploaded_files/image/50x50/getty_159164402_68375.jpg"}}}],"formatted_text":"<p>One of the problems with "wearables"? Everyone knows you're wearing one.</p>\r\n<p>They can see it on your wrist, tracking your pulse or paces. Maybe they can see it on your glasses. Maybe they judged you and ran away. Maybe they started to tell you about their exercise routine.</p>\r\n<p>All of that--and a few more important things--might change in the future, thanks to ideas like the one&nbsp;<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&amp;Sect2=HITOFF&amp;u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&amp;r=54&amp;f=G&amp;l=50&amp;d=PTXT&amp;s1=Google.ASNM.&amp;p=2&amp;OS=AN/Google&amp;RS=AN/Google">Google was awarded a U.S. patent</a>&nbsp;for earlier this week.&nbsp;The patent--which was initially filed on July 26, 2012--is for a contact lens that "harvests light received and generates power from the harvested light."</p>\r\n<p>In other words, the patent is for a solar-powered contact lens. What's more, these contact lenses also possess a fascinating set of potential capabilities. Here's a rundown of those capabilities, based on descriptions in the patent.&nbsp;</p>\r\n<h3><b>1. Monitor body temperature and blood-alcohol level.&nbsp;</b></h3>\r\n<p>As Mike Murphy points out in his story about the patent on <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://qz.com/523366/google-wants-to-power-a-contact-lens-wearable-with-solar-power/"><em>Quartz</em></a>,&nbsp;the patent suggests that the contact lens could potentially "send information back to another device about the wearer's temperature or blood-alcohol level."</p>\r\n<h3><b>2. Help wearers handle allergies.</b>&nbsp;</h3>\r\n<p>Specifically, the patent reads that one of the sensors "can sense any number of biological, chemical and/or microbiological features in an environment including, but not limited to, levels of hazardous materials, levels of allergens, the presence of various organisms or species or the like." Those allergens include tree or grass pollen, pet dander, and dust mite excretions.</p>\r\n<h3><b>3. Scan barcodes or price tags.</b>&nbsp;</h3>\r\n<p>The patent specifies circumstances under which the contact lenses and the devices you'd use with them can "receive information detailing electronic coupons, pricing, warranty information or the like." A cashier wearing the contact lens would be able to scan and process coupons and price tags very quickly. The cashier's lenses would essentially <em>become</em> the scanner.&nbsp;</p>\r\n<h3><b>4. Track glucose levels.</b>&nbsp;</h3>\r\n<p>What's more, the patent notes that the lens can potentially "include circuitry for outputting the sensed information to a reader." That would give a doctor or a parent the ability to gauge if the level of the substance were too high or low. As Murphy notes, this sounds like "an extension of another Google lens project, which aims to help diabetics track their glucose levels."</p>\r\n<h3><b>5. Generate power from both the sun and ambient light sources.</b>&nbsp;</h3>\r\n<p>The lenses include a "photodetector" which "harvests light emitted from a device and generates power from the harvested light." That photodetector, notes the patent, can be "a photovoltaic cell or a solar cell."</p>\r\n<p>In this regard--their potential use of&nbsp;transparent photovoltaics--the lenses are comparable to what&nbsp;MIT's Dean of Innovation,&nbsp;Vladimir Bulović, is working on. For example,&nbsp;one of Bulović's three startups, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ubiquitous.energy/smart-glass/">Ubiquitous Energy</a>, makes clear coatings for use on the displays of Kindles or another mobile devices. "You'd never have to recharge it again," says Bulović. The reason? The coating would catch enough solar power and ambient light to give the device a seemingly infinite amount of power.</p>\r\n<p>The coating also has the capability to power office buildings, if you apply it to the windows of the buildings. In addition, it could provide perpetual power to hearing aids, if you put the coating on, say, your eyeglasses.&nbsp;Google's patent might one day do for contact lenses what Ubiquitous Energy's coating can do for conventional spectacles.&nbsp;</p>\r\n<h3><b>6. Talk to your other devices.</b></h3>\r\n<p>The patent mentions that the contact lenses should be able to communicate with devices such as "personal digital assistants (PDAs), audio/video devices, mobile phones, MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) players, personal computers, laptops, tablets."&nbsp;</p>\r\n<h3><b>7. Authenticate identities.</b></h3>\r\n<p>It's just one line in the patent, but it's there: "Retinal analysis of a user can be performed and an optical signal transmitted in response to an authentication request," reads the document. How this would work with the lenses isn't explicit in the patent. 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