comment on this article

Bionic lenses, Terminators and rabbits

A Terminator style bionic contact lens has been developed by researchers in a bid to enable real time information to be streamed across a user's field of vision. It's the stuff of sci-fi fantasy. Or at least it will be. One day.

While the media is having a field day over the prospect of hands free Terminator style data flashing across our eyes, the concept is … well, pretty well still a concept at this stage.

So far, scientists at the University of Washington and Aalto University in Finland have developed a prototype contact lens that contains a single pixel as a 'proof of concept'. To create the device, a tiny led with sapphire was embedded into the centre of a plastic contact lens, along with an antenna around the circumference of the lens. This was connected with a circuit to the led and, by using remote rf transmission, the pixel could then be controlled. Because the human eye is unable to focus on anything close to its surface, an additional lens was added that focused light and used it to project the image of the led directly onto the retina.

The next stage was to test the safety of the lenses, so the researchers fitted them onto the eyes of rabbits - presumably short-sighted ones that could read and understand the meaning of 'LOL' (lots of lettuce). No thermal burning or any other negative effects were recorded, although the fluffy bunnies seemed to tolerate the lenses for only short periods of time. Cigarette cravings can have that effect, after all.

Following the buns 'n' burner test, the contact lens was deemed safe to use on humans. Nevertheless, significant improvements are still required to enable fully functional, remotely powered, high resolution displays. Co-author of the study, Professor Babak Praviz, said: "We need to improve the antenna design and the associated matching network and optimise the transmission frequency to achieve an overall improvement in the range of wireless power transmission. Our next goal, however, is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens."

To do that, lenses with multiple pixels will need to be produced. And that could take time. But it will enable texts and short email messages to be sent - such as, 'Would you like a carrot?' and 'Watch out for that fox.'

Further down the line, the technology has the potential to be used to overlay computer generated visual information in gaming, medical and navigation applications. Exciting times. However, you do get the feeling that if - and when - this technology is unleashed on an eager public (and not so keen bunnies), that it will effectively eliminate the need to get out of your bed ever again. Or indeed your hutch.

Author
Chris Shaw

Comment on this article


This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Coming to your aid

The common belief that nothing can be certain, except for death and taxes, can ...

Buck regulator

The LTC3623 from Linear Technology is a ±5A high efficiency, current mode ...

Future World

Taking place in London, Future World is a conference and meet-up for ...

Disappearing die

This one-day conference, organised by NMI and IMAPS-UK and held at Mitel ...

Blue University LIVE

Blue University LIVE, being held in Copenhagen, is a one day training session ...

Get to market faster

A quick look at using Vicor's PFM and AIM in VIA packaging for your AC to Point ...

Acquire and survive?

The dust is beginning to settle following the news that Swiss company Dätwyler ...

Pressing the button

With less than two weeks to go before the EU referendum, the debate remains ...

A change of course

Since taking over as CEO in December 2015, Jeff Benck has rung the changes at ...