What if you were capable of surfing the world wide web just about any where at the blink of an eye? Or how about never having to repeat your medical history to another doctor again? And for you video game guru’s out there, how about taking taking the term “virtual reality” to a whole new level with no hindrances or limits? All of this and more may soon become a way of everyday life, thanks to a group of electrical engineering students from the University of Washington. Assistant professor, Babak Parviz and his colleagues recently took the concept of a standard contact lens and developed a prototype for a new revolutionary “bionic” lens.
With the use of nano-technology and micro-fabrication techniques, the team was able to assemble a network of circuitry, using pieces of metal that are one-one thousandths the width of a human piece of hair, red light emitting diodes and even a small antenna onto the lens. The lens is then sprinkled with a gray powder substance that contains tiny electrical components. Using the same concept as a plant receiving water through its roots by capillary forces, the electrical components then bind them self naturally into position on the lens surface using a micro-fabrication technique known as self-assembly. Researchers are trying to figure out how to run the electronics in the the lens, by experimenting with coils that store energy from radio frequencies. Due to the small size of the lens, arranging the electrical circuitry has been a difficult task. But everything used to create the lens is lightweight, organic, and safe for use in the human body, and inserting and removing the lens should be as easy as inserting a regular contact, according to Parviz.
If this concept works, and the outcome produces positive results on future testing, we very well could have the world at our fingertips! The medical field could become so advanced, your future doctor visits could be as simple as just opening your eyes! With the capabilities of accessing your entire medial history, past diagnosis’s, test results and more. This revolutionary “bionic” lens could greatly also improve the travel industry as well! Truck-drivers and airline pilots could have instant GPS portrayed in front of them so travel could be virtually flawless. Not to mention that we all could benefit from this kind of technology. Professor Parviz said, “I can see this exponentially growing and having many, many more applications.” The opportunities could potentially be endless with such a device.
OK now…Don’t get too excited, because no human testing has been done at this time, but, the team has successfully inserted the lenses into a group of rabbits for up to 20 minutes. Although at this time, the current prototype’s do no light up or display images, the outcome seemed to be positive, and none of the rabbits seemed to have adverse negative effects.
So for all of you people out there who say “that’s something you only see in the movies” or ” that will never happen in MY lifetime”, think again, because things are happening all around us at such a rapid pace, this New “Bionic Contact Lens” could literally be our reality…..in the blink of an eye!
Wikipedia, Bionic Contact Lens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bionic_contact_lens
ScienCentral.Bionic Contact Lenses. http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?type=article&article_id=218393067
Babak Parviz. Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens. IEEE Spectrum.