A Step Towards the Bionic Eyeball


A few decades ago, the idea of fixing your vision by putting a thin lens on your eyeball was the stuff of sci-fi movies. Today, contact lenses help millions of people to see with near-perfect vision.

The next horizon of contact lens technology might also seem like an episode of the Bionic Woman: scientists have created contact lenses with small integrated electrical circuits and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

What’s the purpose? Eventually, developers want to use LEDs to project artificial images onto the view of your surroundings. This could, in principle, overlay words, pictures, or even a web browser-like interface onto your normal vision.

The technology, created at the University of Washington, is just a small step toward creating a revolutionary new visual interface. The contacts are completely clear despite containing circuits with nanometer-sized components. The one thing the lenses don’t do is correct vision. But eventually, engineers hope to integrate prescription lenses with the LED display capabilities.

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