High-Tech Contact Lenses Are Straight Out Of Science Fiction — And May Replace Smart Phones

High-Tech Contact Lenses Are Straight Out Of Science Fiction — And May Replace Smart Phones
A concept image showing a contact lens with digital and biometric implants.

Contact lenses are the result of an accidental discovery made during the Second World War. Ophthalmologist Harold Ridley noticed that despite acrylic plastic shrapnel shards becoming embedded in the eyes of fighter pilots, it did not appear to cause any harm. This finding eventually led to the creation of hard intraocular lenses for the treatment of cataracts.

Over the years, new scientific discoveries have led to softer and more comfortable contact lenses. And now, research bringing together chemistry, biology and microelectronics is resulting in contact lenses that are straight out of science fiction.

Current research

Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed a prototype of a contact lens that continuously monitors changes in intraocular pressure, the pressure within the eyeball. The prototype is based on the fact that the shape of the eyeball varies in response to changes in intraocular pressure. As this happens, the contact lens undergoes commensurate change in shape. A thin capacitor embedded within the contact lens correlates changes in shape to variations in intraocular pressure.

The continuous monitoring provided by the contact lens could come in handy for people suffering from glaucoma. This lens can monitor changes in intraocular pressure throughout the day, and can responsively release drugs to alleviate the glaucoma. A similar lens, called Sensimed Triggerfish, has received regulatory approval in the United States and Japan.

Thanks to the ubiquity of electronic devices, we are currently living in a world constantly bathed in electromagnetic radiation. Although a clear consensus is absent, studies have pointed out that exposure to electromagnetic radiation could possibly induce some effects in human tissue. Engineers in South Korea have applied a layer of graphene to contact lens to help shield the eyes from electromagnetic radiation. The thin graphene layer also reduces dehydration.

Beyond vision

Developments in microelectronics and chemistry have contributed to the surge in projects and prototypes involving smart contact lenses. For example, there are already lenses that function as in-eye sunglasses, darkening and lightening in response to changes in light intensity.

California-based tech start-up Mojo Vision is working on contact lenses with an inbuilt LCD display, which opens up enormous possibilities. Similar to a head-up display projected on a car’s windshield, the contact lens can provide a wide range of information, from phone notifications, map directions and more.

It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that we will soon be able to use contact lenses to zoom in on distant objects.

Replaced devices?

As a chemical engineering doctoral student, I have been involved with projects focused on developing very thin nano-sized polymer films on contact lenses. These films enhance comfort and attach tiny sensors to the surface to prevent unwanted substances from sticking.

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Challenges remain in scaling up the mass production of such products and keeping the price accessible. Critics have also pointed out that it is easier to correct vision deficiencies with advancements in laser technology.

The global contact lens market is predicted to expand, and we can expect to see a plethora of ground-breaking products being released. And as technology continues to develop contact lenses, smart contact lenses may one day replace smart phones and screens.The Conversation

About The Author

Bishakh Rout, PhD student, Chemical Engineering, McGill University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration




is it covid or hay fecer 8 7
Here’s How To Tell If It's Covid or Hay Fever
by Samuel J. White, and Philippe B. Wilson
With warm weather in the northern hemisphere, many people will be suffering from pollen allergies.…
baseball player w;ith white hair
Can We Be Too Old?
by Barry Vissell
We all know the expression, "You're as old as you think or feel." Too many people give up on…
sage smudge sticks, feathers, and a dreamcatcher
Cleansing, Grounding, and Protecting: Two Foundational Practices
by MaryAnn DiMarco
Many cultures have a ritualistic cleansing practice, often done with smoke or water, to help remove…
changing peoples minds 8 3
Why It’s Hard To Challenge Someone’s False Beliefs
by Lara Millman
Most people think they acquire their beliefs using a high standard of objectivity. But recent…
overcoming lonliness 8 4
4 Ways To Recover From Loneliness
by Michelle H Lim
Loneliness isn’t unusual given it’s a natural human emotion. But when ignored or not effectively…
chilkdren that prosper from online learning 8 2
How Some Children Prosper In Online Learning
by Anne Burke
While media often seemed to report on negative aspects of online schooling, this was not a…
favorie sumer drinks 8 3
5 Historical Summer Drinks To Keep You Cool
by Anistatia Renard Miller
We all have our favourite summer cold drinks, from fruity British favourites like a cup of…
covid and elderly 8 3
Covid: How Careful Do I Still Need To Be Around Older And Vulnerable Family Members?
by Simon Kolstoe
We are all pretty fed up with COVID, and perhaps keen for a summer of holidays, social outings and…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.