A set of contact lenses that turns the wearer's field of vision into a screen
By Joseph A. BernsteinPosted 06.05.2012 at 10:03 am 12 Comments
After two decades as an electrical engineer, Randy Sprague quit his job in 2008 to start a solar power company. He had been planning the venture for years, saving up, getting his wife's blessing. But then one morning while taking a shower, he had a brainstorm for an entirely different idea: contact lenses that could act as part of a wearable display. Users could instantly augment their view with information—say, the price of an antique in a store or the species of a tree in the forest—or transform their field of vision into a virtual videogame screen.
By Babak Parviz, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 02.21.2012 at 10:13 am 5 Comments
"We made a lens that displays a single pixel that can be turned on and off wirelessly. An integrated circuit stores the energy, and a light-emitting diode shoots light toward the eye, but the optics are tricky. You can't focus on something that's that close. To correct this, we put a series of tiny lenses between the LED and the eye—imagine holding your finger too close to your eye so it's blurry; you could bring it into focus by putting a magnifying glass between your eye and your finger.
The augmented reality future we were long ago promised has been slow to come around, perhaps restrained most by the basic biology of our own eyes, which are unable to properly see detailed images placed very near the pupils.
In a breakthrough that is sure to thrill optical ailment sufferers and stoners everywhere, a team of Auburn University researchers has invented a new kind of drug-delivering contact lens that could make the medicinal eye drop a thing of the past. Their lenses are the first to deliver drug doses evenly for as long as the lens is worn, a method that is roughly 100 times more effective than putting sporadic eye drops in the eye.
Glaucoma is a tricky ailment to manage; rather than being a single disease, it's actually a cluster of diseases with various manifestations that, taken as a whole, are the second leading cause of blindness. But medical microtechnology firm Sensimed has engineered a sensor-laden contact lens that glaucoma sufferers can wear around-the-clock, helping doctors not only manage the potentially debilitating disease, but also learn more about how the mysterious condition works.
I wear glasses, but don't own contact lenses. And while this normally doesn't make a difference, staring into the midday sun often leads me to think about switching to contacts simply so I can wear sunglasses.
Well, just as I all but convinced myself to switch, the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore goes ahead and makes sunglasses all but useless for contact lens wearers. Behold, the first ever photochromic contacts.
It's the year 2023 and you're lost in a gigametropolis full of flying cars and robots who have achieved singularity. A guide literally appears before your eyes, giving you enough info about your surroundings to guide you on your way. The computerized contact lenses that Babak Parviz is developing could make this fantasy a reality.