Display embedded into contact lens, powered wirelessly

By on November 23, 2011, 6:30 PM

Researchers have been testing (their website appears to be under heavy load) a new display that can be embedded into a contact lens and powered wirelessly by a detached energy source. Despite the fantastic possibilities of such a device, it has a long way to go before it ends up in an eyeball near you.

For now, the rudimentary display is merely proof of concept. In its current form, the electronics for the device can only manipulate a single pixel. Researchers intend to improve this limitation, however, with a little more time and research. "Our next goal is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens.", said Lead Researcher, Dr. Parvis.

The research paper claims that the wireless power source can be approximately one meter from the device, in line of sight conditions. More interestingly though, a power source may also be embedded into the wearer but the feasible distance decreases dramatically to about two centimeters. The team determined this by using rabbit test subjects and embedding wireless power sources into their heads.

With this experimental display, the team surmounted a number of challenges. One of the problems solved was trying to get the human eye to see something mounted on its surface. Typically, eyes need at least a few inches of distance to focus. 

Integrating circuitry into something as delicate as a contact lens was another issue. Electronics are made from inorganic materials, require high temperatures and contain toxic chemicals which make them difficult to integrate. The team found a way to produce extremely thin circuitry and embed it into the contact lens itself.

The chips found in the contact lens are built upon a transparent sapphire substrate just nanometers thick. The image itself is produced by a tiny LED which is a fraction of a millimeter across. Researchers are working on adding more chips and more LEDs for multi-pixel version based upon micro-Fresnel lenses. 

Amongst the potential uses cited, HUD-like functions such as monitoring blood sugar levels for people with diabetes or GPS-based directions for drivers are some pretty nifty ideas. However, those involved with the project admit, "high resolution, full-color, stand-alone contact lens displays might be many years away."




User Comments: 19

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DokkRokken said:

When they debut these for consumer use, I'll be the first in line to buy, just so I can be the first person to say 'My Vision is Augmented.'

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

When they debut these for consumer use, I'll be the first in line to buy, just so I can be the first person to say 'My Vision is Augmented.'

so after you get the crosshairs installed, you can get the laser eye surgery...meaning installation of. nah..nah..nah..nah..nah

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

I probably wouldn't get this, seeing I don't really trust these kind of things in my eyes. Maybe far into the future with lots of studying upon this, would I get them.

jeffz6 said:

Anyone else thinking with a little motion tracking, these could overlay a image on your wife making her young and sexy forever?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can see the headlines now. LOL

"Officer, while driving home from work a dragon tried to kill me. Honest to God truth, thats why I crashed my car."

Guest said:

Very bad. One day this can cause to bad things. Leave it natural

Guest said:

Great! Now I'll be able to see ads even if I close my eyes!

jeffz6 said:

You do already, its called radio

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Very bad. One day this can cause to bad things. Leave it natural

While this may be true now in future we will see humans being alot more artificially enchanced then they are now, its called evolution.

By 2300 I can see Transhumanism on large scale (if it make it till then).

Marv Marv said:

To be honest, unless this adds anything particularly major (which my guess is that it won't for the majority), I'll be without sticking contacts in my eyes. I've been wearing them for the last 6 years, and can't wait until I can afford laser surgery.

Guest said:

Cool! Now we can watch Ads even in our sleep ;))

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

Very bad. One day this can cause to bad things. Leave it natural

When I played through Deus Ex HR I killed every person who said something along those lines. People standing in the way of progress due to fear mongering.

Guest said:

meh i think it would have been better if they tried to embed them in to something like glasses that people wear all the time now (vision correcting glasses ...3d glasses etc..) would have been much easier and less hazardous for the user. I mean most people get jittery when putting some contact lenses in their eyes and now contact lenses with circuitry?

Guest said:

Poor rabbits....

Guest said:

Why not start with eyeglasses first? Seems like that would be easier. You could incorporate the power source into the frames. Plus you wouldn't, you know, destroy your eyeballs from the heat emitted from an electronic contact lens.

Guest said:

What happens when someone overpowers your signal with other information?

Rahziel said:

Life with a heads-up display = awesome

Guest said:

everybody will be playing halo on the streets... looking like dumbasses

Guest said:

It's called the Singularity. It was coined by Ray Kurzweil. It is the point where humans and machines become one and we cease to be completely human. There was an article in Time magazine about him and there is also a movie. Pretty interesting stuff and at times boring. He is a very weird guy, buy everything he has protected about technology so far has come true.

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