Contact lenses to get built-in virtual graphics
2009-11-13 0:00

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



Related Articles
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

The Ring Of The Nibelungs
2015-01-27 0:20
Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King (also known as Ring of the Nibelungs, Die Nibelungen, Curse of the Ring, and Sword of Xanten) is a 2004 German television film directed by Uli Edel and starring Benno Fürmann, Alicia Witt, Kristanna Loken, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the Norse mythology story Völsungasaga and the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, ...
Google Street View Shows NAACP Bombing a Hoax
2015-01-26 22:58
Caught in the act: NAACP passing off old soot marks as new in ‘bomb’ hoax NAACP Colorado Chapter President Henry D. Allen Jr. has been caught in the act of passing off old soot marks as new damage from the recent ‘explosion’ at the Colorado Springs chapter headquarters. Although Gotnews.com has previously remarked on the minimal damage as reported by the ...
The TSA Wants To Read Your Facebook Posts And Check Out Your Purchases Before It Will Approve You For PreCheck
2015-01-26 21:11
The TSA is disappointed that so few Americans have opted out of its bottle-tossing, package-groping screenings by signing up for its PreCheck program. For a few years now, the TSA has been selling travelers' civil liberties back to them, most recently for $85 a head, but it's now making a serious push to increase participation. The TSA can't do it ...
What Happens To Privacy When The Internet Is In Everything?
2015-01-26 20:10
This week Google’s Eric Schmidt was on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he suggested that the future Internet will be, in one sense, invisible — because it will be embedded into everything we interact with. “The Internet will disappear,” he predicted (via The Hollywood Reporter). “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things ...
Harvard Professor: Government Mosquito Drones will Extract Your DNA
2015-01-26 20:42
"Privacy is dead," academic tells Davos elite Harvard Professor Margo Seltzer warned that miniature mosquito drones will one day forcibly extract your DNA on behalf of the government and insurance companies as she told elitists at the World Economic Forum in Davos that privacy was dead. Seltzer, a professor in computer science at Harvard University, told attendees, “Privacy as we knew it ...
More News »