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Sony Corporation (Japanese: ソニー株式会社) has just patented a truly revolutionary high-tech contact lens design. Once these contacts are perfected, Sony claims users will be able to both take pictures and record videos with just the blink of an eye.
Executives from the Japanese conglomerate told reporters that each contact lens will have tiny sensors able to tell the difference between voluntary and involuntary blinks. Investors in this ambitious project say these contacts will be fully equipped with a camera, a wireless processing unit, and even a storage unit.
Just like a normal digital camera, people will be able to review all the pictures and videos taken with the contacts on. Users will also be able to delete photos they don't like while taking a look at them with these high-tech contacts on.
The specific sensors used in these contacts are called piezoelectric sensors. Piezoelectric sensors are designed to monitor even the slightest changes in force, pressure, temperature, and acceleration. Sony did not say whether or not these contacts could be used to monitor eye health conditions.
A few tech critics believe Sony's contacts will be able to track a wearer's eye movements and instantly know when to zoom in or out. Others believe these contacts will have auto-focus and image stabilization effects.
The designers of these contacts told reporters they are using energy from electromagnetic induction.
Of course, Sony isn't the first to come up with the idea for smart contacts. A few other companies involved in their own high-tech contact projects include Google and Samsung. Both Samsung and Google right now have focused on using their contact lenses to accurately measure blood glucose levels for diabetes patients.
One of the main issues Sony will most likely face going forward is over personal privacy rights. It's literally impossible for anyone to know who is wearing these contacts or potentially taking compromising photos of them. The ethical concerns surrounding the influx of technology and the loss of privacy will only be intensified by the release of these Sony contacts.
Some people may remember Google faced similar scrutiny once their Google Glasses were released. Perhaps that's why Google's patented contact lenses primarily focus on health concerns, namely measuring blood glucose through the wearer's tears. A contact lens specifically designed for a medical issue doesn't bring up as many privacy concerns as Sony's contacts are expected to.
In addition to these crazy contacts, Sony is also looking to get involved in the virtual reality (VR) space. News recently broke that Sony filed for a patent to start work on a VR tracking device this June. Documents reveal this new VR headset is being developed mainly to give PSVR users a more immersive gaming experience. The patent application also noted that this VR headset would be wireless, so it will most likely connect with a PS4 device using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Privacy issues aside, Sony's contact lenses are still a major achievement in the smart contact lens space. If these lenses are released to the public, it won't be for several years.