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

School Textbook: “There’s No Such Thing as Reverse Racism” Only White People can be Racist
2015-03-03 2:14
Only white people can be racist. A school textbook teaches students that “there is no such thing as reverse racism” and that women can never be as sexist as men. The passage, which appears to be taken from a “multicultural education series” book entitled Is Everyone Equal, states, “STOP: There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the ...
Americans to Receive Full Biometric Treatment for all Forms of European Travel
2015-03-02 23:39
Travel becomes truly ominous... In a trend that isn't wholly surprising, EU Observer reports: US citizens and other non-EU nationals who enter Europe will be asked to have their faces image-captured and fingerprints scanned upon arrival at a half-dozen major airports. [emphasis added] This "biometric dragnet" is the pilot test for the EU's new "smart borders" packages. The test ...
Breaking: Google gives new meaning to “Orwellian”
2015-03-02 18:14
Becomes Ministry of Truth “…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (1984, George Orwell) The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson): “THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories ...
Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin - A Staged Shooting?
2015-02-28 22:37
NY Times: Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin Mr. Nemtsov, a former first deputy prime minister of Russia, was killed in central Moscow in the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of President Vladimir V. Putin. A Staged Shooting? ... Why does the dead body of fitness enthusiast Boris Nemtsov have a pot belly? The Anti-New York Times doesn't ...
Spielberg's Hoax - The Last Days of The Big Lie
2015-02-28 20:18
Editor's Note: This is an absolutely SHOCKING video. How this has gone largely unchallenged for such a long time, is a remarkable testimony to the trustworthiness of gullible but good-hearted people. Watch it all the way to the end and learn something new about the remarkable lies and falsehood in our world. If the video is blocked in your country, see ...
More News »