Heads-up displays, "super-vision," via contact lenses

Edward Willett @ 17-01-2008

Contact lens with imprinted circuit Engineers at the University of Washington have managed to create a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights:

There are many possible uses for virtual displays. Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle’s speed projected onto the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, people on the go could surf the Internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see.

And, the engineers note, people may find many other applications they haven’t even thought of yet. (Via EurekAlert.)

So far only rabbits have worn the prototype, with no ill effects after up to twenty minutes. The engineers plan to add wireless communication to and from the lens, along with built-on solar cells and the capability to use radio-frequency power. The prototype doesn’t light up, but a version with a basic display showing a few pixels could be operational soon.

(Image: University of Washington.)


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14 Responses to “Heads-up displays, "super-vision," via contact lenses”

  1. Khannea Suntzu says:

    Hooo hooooo not so FAST this was in the script no earlier than 2017 dammit !

    At this rate things are going TOO FAST ! Ease DOWN !!

  2. docduke says:

    Has this reporter had high-school physics that included optics? Suppose I draw several lines on your cornea. Do you expect them to be imaged on your retina? There is a lens behind the cornea, and the minimum focal length is several inches, if you are young, and meters if you are not. A science editor is desperately needed where that was written!

  3. Edward Willett says:

    I’ve changed the first URL in the story so it goes directly to the original source, which is a press release from the University of Washington.

  4. Jay C says:

    I’m thinking of wearing the lens at home – Project an image of Jessica Alba onto your wife, make life good again…

  5. alex says:

    docduke has a point, doesn’t he? How are these things supposed to work?

  6. Jeremy says:

    Not to mention, you’ve gotta worry about the contacts getting rotated when you blink. I know they can do weighted ones so that they can make bifocal contacts, but blinking and finding your HUD upside down could be a bit disconcerting for a pilot.

  7. Brian Wang says:

    The system will work similar to the commercialized see through displays on glasses. The display creates an image that will be perceived to be in focus and to be at a distance from the viewer.


  8. SG says:

    Thats pretty cool…..Jessica Alba into your wife..LOL that was a good one…..LOL

  9. EssGee says:

    How will this work? radio signals? i just don’t get it :S

  10. Kontaktlinsen says:

    You know what the most amazing part is? They say these might be out in like three to five years!

    Just imagine!

  11. Bhavesh says:

    Actually it is possible. Research PAM (Potential Acuity Meter). This device projects an actual snellen chart (letter chart) directly onto your macula (used for cataract patients). The comment regarding rotation, well that could be solved with a weighted edge thus keeping the contact lens well oriented. Contact lenses made for astigmatism work in this fashion. The problem I see is that contact lenses require to be fitted (especially contact lenses for astigmatism) so this wouldn’t be possible because of side effects from person to person.

  12. Talia says:

    Wow, can they also improve your vision? I’d be in heaven!

  13. KayKay says:

    If you can surf the internet on these contact-thingies, then what will you use as a mouse? Your eyeball??? Hahahaha….ew, that actually sounds kinda gross…

  14. John says:

    @Khannea Suntzu

    I’m responding to your comment almost 3 years later… they aren’t moving fast enough. Me want bionic lenses now!