The future is tomorrow

I love this technophile stuff: Some scientists are constructing augmented reality contact lenses, Terminator style. As of yet, they’ve only demonstrated the principle (and made some cute little bunnies wear contacts with embedded wiring), but according to the guys themselves, it’s only a question of (little) time before this is a viable technology.

Conventional contact lenses are polymers formed in specific shapes to correct faulty vision. To turn such a lens into a functional system, we integrate control circuits, communication circuits, and miniature antennas into the lens using custom-built optoelectronic components. Those components will eventually include hundreds of LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye, such as words, charts, and photographs. Much of the hardware is semitransparent so that wearers can navigate their surroundings without crashing into them or becoming disoriented. In all likelihood, a separate, portable device will relay displayable information to the lens’s control circuit, which will operate the optoelectronics in the lens.

Looking at some of it, it really seems like the future is already there. They’ve managed to embed LED lights, a small power source (some sort of antenna), and a radio chip into the lenses, and managed to power it wirelessly from a remote source. In the future a small PV panel in the lens itself might provide internal power. All the world’s computer geeks are rubbing their hands, but as usual the major benefits will be in health. A contact lens that checks your blood-sugar, cholesterol, sodium and potassium levels? Yes please.

Conclusion: Go science!

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