The world-famous electronics manufacturer Samsung is yet again pushing the boundaries of what we think technology can do. Recent reports have shown that the South Korean multinational has successfully filed for a patent on its own smart contact lens technology.
While these patents were officially filed in 2014, they have only been released to the public in 2016. Samsung is developing their contact lenses to be self-sufficient by generating energy from blinking.
Samsung's plan to use sensors capable of picking up energy simply from a person's blinking is what's really got people in the tech community talking. The patent reveals that Samsung is planning on putting a piezoelectric layer in the middle of these contacts. This layer of sensors will be able to pick up kinetic energy and store it efficiently.
These contacts will have the ability to show various images directly on a person's eyes. Antennas on the contacts are designed to pick up information on a person's smartphone and transfer it into the contact lens display. Also, Samsung is working on putting a built-in camera into these contact lenses so anyone can take a picture at anytime.
Executives at Samsung openly admit that they are competing against Google to provide the world with the greatest experience of augmented reality using a contact lens. Particularly, Samsung believes its approach to augmented reality will be stronger and clearer than that provided in wearables like Google Glass.
Some analysts believe Samsung got the idea for taking pictures using contact lenses from Google Glass. Currently, a person using Google Glass can take a picture simply by winking his/her eye.
Samsung is certainly already aware that Samsung is certainly already aware that Google is hard at work on contact lens technology as we speak. Google now owns two patents for its own smart contact technology. While Samsung started applying for its contact lens technology in 2014, Google was already developing its own smart contacts. is hard at work on contact lens technology as we speak. Google now owns two patents for its own smart contact technology. While Samsung started applying for its contact lens technology in 2014, Google was already developing its own smart contacts.
Google's latest projects in smart contacts, however, seem to be more focused on health and wellness than energy efficiency. For example, Google is now developing sensors that can tell what a person's blood glucose levels are just by analyzing the chemicals in their tears. There's been no word yet on whether or not Google will be developing kinetic energy storing technology as Samsung is.
Samsung may be more focused on energy issues in their contacts due to the many Samsung battery explosions in the news. Videos of Samsung's Galaxy Note7 phones exploding went viral in October this year, and the company has come under heavy fire for the safety of its products. Placing a giant battery right by a person's eye is not something Samsung executives wants to try, at least not until they can assure the public they have perfected their battery technology.
Many analysts looking at these patents don't actually believe Samsung will go through with this contact lens technology. Patents don't always lead to actual products, and Samsung doesn't seem equipped to meet the demands of the smart contact technology at the moment. Some people think Samsung could have applied for this patent to help with their research and development. Also, simply owning a patent is sometimes even more profitable for a company that actually spending the time and money developing the final product.
Whatever happens with this technology, the world will certainly be looking forward to receiving news from Samsung in the ensuing years.