‘Terminator’ contact lens for rabbits; humans are next

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The future has never looked more like a science fiction movie

Researchers from the University of Washington and Aalto University in Finland are one step closer to developing a contact lens that may one day allow you to see words displayed over your regular field of vision -- just like the Terminator, RoboCop and EVA from Pixar’s ‘Wall-E.’

Potential applications of this developing technology include navigation, gaming, and receiving instant data on the vulnerabilities of those you are trying to destroy.

In a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, the paper’s authors explain that the lens would receive data through an antenna that is embedded right inside it--- (the round gold circle in the picture above). The contact lens also has a tiny silicon power-harvesting and radio-integrated circuit, metal interconnects, insulation layers and a very small transparent sapphire chip containing a custom-designed micro-LED.


So far, researchers have only been able to put one pixel on the contact lens, which would manifest itself to the wearer as just a tiny dot of light. But scientists involved with the project see the success of the one-pixel lens as proof of concept for producing lenses with multiple pixels, which could eventually be used to display short emails and text messages right before your eyes.

The lens has not been tested on humans, but it has been tested on rabbits, and so far no adverse reactions have been noticed.

Co-author of the study, Professor Babak Praviz of the University of Washington, said in a statement that there is still a lot of work to be done before the Terminator-style contact lens is a functioning reality.

“We need to improve the antenna design and the associated matching network and optimize the transmission frequency to achieve an overall improvement in the range of wireless power transmission,” he said. “Our next goal, however, is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens.’

In other words, he’ll be back.


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--Deborah Netburn