Scientists at the University of Washington and Aalto University, Finland, have developed a prototype contact lens that could potentially provide the wearer with hands-free information updates.
With the discovery the scientists take a step closer to realising the streaming of real-time information across our field of vision.
At the moment, the contact lens device contains only a single pixel but the researchers see this as a “proof-of-concept” for producing lenses with multiple pixels which, in their hundreds, could be used to display short emails and text messages right before your eyes.
The device could overlay computer-generated visual information on to the real world and be of use in gaming devices and navigation systems.
It could also be linked to biosensors in the user’s body to provide up-to-date information on glucose or lactate levels.
After testing the contact lens in free space, it was fitted to the eye of a rabbit, under the strict guidelines for animal use in the laboratory, to evaluate the effect of wearing the contact lens on the cornea and the body in general.
In addition to visualising techniques, a fluorescent dye was added to the eye of the rabbit to test for any abrasion or thermal burning.
After demonstrating the operation and safety of the contact, the researchers state that significant improvements are necessary to produce fully functional, remotely powered, high-resolution displays.
“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,” said co-author of the study, Professor Babak Praviz.
“Our next goal, however, is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens,” he added.
The discovery has been published in IOP Publishing’s Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.