We’re another step closer to integrating real time information into our vision. Researchers from the University of Washington and Aalto University Finland have engineered the first prototype of a computerized contact lens on which you can see information updates. They presented their findings today in IOP Publishing’s Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.
The lens only contained one pixel, but by proving that the concept works without any adverse side effects, they can develop it into lenses with more pixels. This could eventually lead to contact lenses on which you can read your email and catch up on the news. A device like this could also project information about the surroundings to the user and could be used for many applications like gaming, navigation and maybe even updates about your glucose levels, if it were to be linked to biosensors in the user’s body.
The researchers tackled the limitation of the minimum focal distance of the human eye by incorporating a set of Fresnel lenses into the device that correctly focus the projected image on the retina. The prototype lens consisted of an antenna to harvest power sent out by an external source and an integrated circuit to store this energy and transfer it to a transparent sapphire chip containing a single blue LED. It was fitted to a rabbit eye to evaluate the effects and safety of the lens on the cornea and the body.
The next steps will be to project actual text messages onto the lens. The researchers admitted that they will have a long way to go towards fully functional, remotely powered, high-resolution displays. But the beginning is here and we’re very excited about what the future holds for this technology.
Press release: Terminator-style info-vision takes step towards reality
Abstract in Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering: A single-pixel wireless contact lens display
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*