Contact lenses to get built-in virtual graphics
By Vijaysree Venkatraman | NewScientist.com
A contact lens that harvests radio waves to power an LED is paving the way for a new kind of display. The lens is a prototype of a device that could display information beamed from a mobile device.
Realising that display size is increasingly a constraint in mobile devices, Babak Parviz at the University of Washington, in Seattle, hit on the idea of projecting images into the eye from a contact lens.
One of the limitations of current head-up displays is their limited field of view. A contact lens display can have a much wider field of view. "Our hope is to create images that effectively float in front of the user perhaps 50 cm to 1 m away," says Parviz.
The lens uses nanoscale and microscale electronic technology and is powered remotely by harvesting radio waves(Image: Babak Parviz/University of Washington)
His research involves embedding nanoscale and microscale electronic devices in substrates like paper or plastic. He also wears contact lenses. "It was a matter of putting the two together," he says.
Fitting a contact lens with circuitry is challenging. The polymer cannot withstand the temperatures or chemicals used in large-scale microfabrication, Parviz explains. So, some components – the power-harvesting circuitry and the micro light-emitting diode – had to be made separately, encased in a biocompatible material and then placed into crevices carved into the lens.
One obvious problem is powering such a device. The circuitry requires 330 microwatts but doesn't need a battery. Instead, a loop antenna picks up power beamed from a nearby radio source. The team has tested the lens by fitting it to a rabbit.
Parviz says that future versions will be able to harvest power from a user's cell phone, perhaps as it beams information to the lens. They will also have more pixels and an array of microlenses to focus the image so that it appears suspended in front of the wearer's eyes.
Despite the limited space available, each component can be integrated into the lens without obscuring the wearer's view, the researchers claim. As to what kinds of images can be viewed on this screen, the possibilities seem endless. Examples include subtitles when conversing with a foreign-language speaker, directions in unfamiliar territory and captioned photographs. The lens could also serve as a head-up display for pilots or gamers.
Mark Billinghurst, director of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory, in Christchurch, New Zealand, is impressed with the work. "A contact lens that allows virtual graphics to be seamlessly overlaid on the real world could provide a compelling augmented reality experience," he says. This prototype is an important first step in that direction, though it may be years before the lens becomes commercially available, he adds.
The University of Washington team will present their prototype at the Biomedical Circuits and Systems (BioCas 2009) conference at Beijing later this month.
Article from: NewScientist.com
Magnetic contact lenses
Human Interface Technology Lab - Website
Psychic computer that can read people's minds developed
Is Quantum Mechanics Controlling Your Thoughts?
The 'telepathy' chip, turn on the TV using the power of thought
'We'll be able to upload our brains to a computer'
Influencing Human Cognition: US Electromagnetic Weapons and Human Rights
Next-generation toys read brain waves
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |