Bionic contact lenses "one step closer"

Bionic contact lenses "one step closer"

By Adrian Galbreth

Scientists have announced an exciting new development that could allow emails to be projected onto people's contact lenses.

Teams based at Washington University and Finland's Aalto University have successfully tested the technology on animals, with no sign of negative side effects.

The researchers claim that the technological prototype is both safe and feasible, although there are still elements such as the identification and creation of a suitable power source that need to be completed before it can be rolled out.

Among the potential uses of the technology are navigation systems in which computer-generated visual information can be displayed, new advances in computer games and even the displaying of medical data such as blood-sugar information, as determined by biosensors.

The devices are constructed from layers of metal that are only a few nanometres thick – approximately the width of a human hair – using diodes that are less than a third of a millimetre across.

Professor Babak Praviz, lead researcher, said that the next goal is to build on the single-pixel model and to begin to incorporate predetermined text into the contact lens.

Part of the advance focused on the difficulty of creating a display that the human eye was capable of focusing on.

Typically, objects must be several centimetres from the human eye before it is capable of focusing on a projection of this type but the teams behind this research used the lens itself to shorten the focal distance.

According to the BBC, Swiss-firm Sensimed has already brought a bionic contact lens to the market that is designed to monitor the pressure affecting the inside of the eye. Its design is targeted at patients with Glaucoma.

A recent report published by GfK has shown that the global contact lens market is booming, with sales of vision care products rising substantially, Asia One has reported.

by Adrian Galbreth

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