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Internet-Enabled Contact Lense Could Bring You Eye To Eye With Web Surfing

Ongoing research looks into embedding augmented reality technology into contact lenses.

Stephen Fortune
Stephen Fortune on March 24, 2011.

 

It doesn’t seem that long ago now that a Robocop view of the world was just another video that went viral. However research at the University of Washington suggests that the world’s first internet-enabled contact lens is not that far from reality. So far the team has fabricated contact lenses that include semi-transparent microscale electronics, including single-crystal silicon transistors, radio chips, antennas, diffusion resistors, LEDs, and silicon photodetectors.
All of these components combine to form a circuit that is grafted onto a contact lens, powered by the vibrations of radio waves. The research uses cutting-edge optoelectronic components, which are also semi-transparent–a crucial factor in creating the augmented reality effect:

Those components will eventually include hundreds of LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye, such as words, charts, and photographs.

So far the team has accomplished an 8 x 8 pixel LED array within the contact lens, making the current research a far cry from an augmented vision matching say, the Terminator’s cyborg perception. Nevertheless it solidifies bionic eyesight a matter of “how soon” rather than “if only.”

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