10 Weird Wearables That Monitor Your Health

Smart Contact Lenses
Google and Novartis are working on a contact lens that continually monitors the wearer's blood sugar levels. Novartis © Google

We normally think of contact lenses as a way to correct our vision. But thanks to advances in the miniaturization of electronics and the development of new materials, future generations of contact lenses actually will be able to monitor a wearer's health in various ways.

In 2014, for example, Google announced a partnership with European pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis to develop smart contact lenses capable of continuously monitoring a user's blood sugar levels in real time. The lenses would then send the data to the person's smartphone, which could in turn relay alerts to a doctor. Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez told The New York Times that it probably will take a few years to get the lenses on the market.

When they do become available, the Google-Novartis lenses may also include another innovation — a lens under development by Google that would work in a fashion similar to autofocus on a camera, so that it would adjust automatically to help a user look at close-up or distant objects [source: Scott].

Similarly, other researchers in South Korea and the U.S. are working to develop contact lenses with tiny sensors that would test the chemical composition of the tears in your eyes, in order to monitor other health conditions [source: Bourzac].