14.06.2011

Future vision: How contact lenses will look in 2030

Future vision: How contact lenses will look in 2030

The advancement of time has been kind to the world we live in. Virtually every aspect of modern life from the way we communicate to how we get from A to B has been completely reinvented, several times over, in the space of just one century. Major breakthroughs in medicine bring us closer to cures needed globally by scores of AIDs and cancer patients, while laser surgery and contact lenses consistently give new leases of life to people who otherwise might have missed all of this.

What is certain, however, is that our world will not stop evolving any time soon. And there has been a great deal of talk in recent weeks, some of which was backed by corroborative research, the rest of it pure conjecture of how our ever-changing world might look and be enhanced through the eyes and contact lenses of the future. Following a recent study with hotel chain Travelodge, expert engineer and futurologist Ian Pearson produced a detailed report entitled The Future of Sleep.

He claimed that by the year 2030, technology in the world's hotels would allow guests' energy levels, health and mood to be monitored, ensuring them the best possible rest in a room that adapts to their every physiological requirement. He said that dreams would eventually be controlled and that we would one day be able to study or learn new languages while we sleep. "Video, audio, smells and tactile experiences produced using our bed or bed linen will play a key role in helping to make our dreams feel real," the report added.

Mr Pearson noted: "We will be able to replay our favourite dream from a menu just like choosing a movie. Also, we will be able to link into dreams with our partner or family and friends and enjoy a shared dream." He suggested that augmented reality would allow any one of the hotel room's surfaces to become a TV screen, photo frame or painting. Meanwhile, high-tech contact lenses would allow guests to check their emails without the need for a computer or handheld device.

Similar views were expressed this year by Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and the man behind new book Physics of the Future, from the City College of New York. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in May, he said: "The internet will be everywhere, including in your contact lenses when you blink, you'll go online. When you see somebody, it will display their image and biography. And if they speak to you in another language, it will translate to English in subtitles."

Especially intriguing were Mr Kaku's predictions as to the aspects of 21st century life that our children's children will be most likely to look back on and laugh just as we do with the cumbersome 'mobile' technology of less than 20 years ago. "Take a look at chemotherapy. It's a horrible process your hair falls out, you vomit but it's a necessity to fight cancer. In the future, we'll have nanoparticles that can zap cancer cells, individually, one by one," he suggested.

Mr Kaku continued: "Those are molecules that hone in on cancer cells like smart bombs. In one trial, they were found to be 90 per cent effective against tumours. When we have the capability to knock out cancer cells one by one, we will view chemotherapy like we view the leeches and bloodletting of 100 years ago."

by Alexa Kaczka


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