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.
Photochromic lenses, glasses that darken in bright light, have been around for decades. They consist of lenses coated in photochromic dyes that change shape when irradiated by sunlight. When the dye changes, they block out the sun, darkening the lens.
Unfortunately, the small size and malleable material of contact lenses make them impossible to coat uniformly. Therein lies the breakthrough. Rather than coating the lenses in dye, the IBN team embedded the dye within the contact lenses. The resultant lenses not only darken in the light, protecting the wearer from UV rays, but do so orders of magnitude faster than regular p glasses.
The increased speed results from the material used to make the contact lenses. The IBN researchers had to develop a unique, spongy material that securely contained the dye, but remained flexible like a regular contact lens. Luckily, the spongy material also gives the dye more room to change shape, allowing the dye to photochromic from transparent to opaque faster than when used as coating.
But while this invention's certainly neat, I'm still going the sunglasses route. It may not be as convenient, but it looks much, much cooler.
[via Technology Review]
I would like to see a picture of what someone would look like wearing these contact lenses out on a sunny day. Wouldn't their eyes look kind of dark and spooky?
I want them. Now. Only with a HUD embedded in them as well, with eye tracking capability... well... motion sensing capability at least. And wi-fi. And it could link up to muscle sensors in a glove or just attached to my fingers for typing and searching and what-not.
ive thought of this idea before...
now i can actually....(trails off in some wonderland full of scientific breakthroughts)
I have been throwing this idea at people with money forever. Finally they make them. From a health of your eyes stand point sunglasses can cause more damage by allowing your iris to expand, while letting brighter light in from the sides. This should eliminate that problem... now only to consider cornea exposure.
A side thought I in response to Chieffranky. There was a story on this site many moons ago about a tft film contact for night vision... I can't find any information about that anywhere else. It is as if the project got hushed away. For now I think that may be as close as you will get to a hud contact. I remember the story claimed that the power to charge the night vision tech was taken from the kinetic energy of blinking. Only downside I can figure with them is that they had to use other than phosphorus materials I a, just guessing that charging phosphorus materials that close to the eye might cause cancer pretty easy. That was not addressed in the story I don't think though. If they don't use phosphorus then I would think they would be great for military, camping, and night time driving.
No cause you still need to protect the skin around your eyes
I want them and i don't care if it make me look spooky when people see me with opaque eyes. I work outside and sunglasses have to be constently adjusted to wipe sweat off my brow or to get to the various biting insects that have crawled beneath the frame of my glasses. This is a problem when you are on a machine that requires your full attention. Not to mention all the times the sunglasses have fallen off my head when I tilted them up to go inside and forgot they were on my head.