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.”