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Medicine Biotech

Augmented Reality In a Contact Lens 196

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lookit-them-wires-in-there dept.
Toe, The writes "Bionanotechnology researcher Babak A Parviz writes about his research toward producing a computer interface in a contact lens. At the moment, they have only embedded a single LED, but they foresee a much more complex interface such as detailed in Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. Such lenses potentially could also read human bio-information from the eye, providing medical information on the order of what is now taken from blood tests, but on a continuous basis. An example would be monitoring glucose levels for diabetics. The author states that, 'All the basic technologies needed to build functional contact lenses are in place,' and details what refinements and advances will be necessary to bring this technology to reality."
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Augmented Reality In a Contact Lens

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  • yes! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward.j.reddy@g m a i l.com> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @12:54PM (#29275219) Journal
    Now, throw in a TrackIR-like system, and we can 100% totally immerse ourselves inside a virtual reality PC. No more monitors that have limited field of views etc. Also, imagine the military and civilian aspects - how a terminator can overlay regional information like that of the new iPhone app - but now it's in your eyes.

    But they're gonna have to figure out a) how to power it and b) how to transmit the data to these devices. That is true tech challenge.
  • by d474 (695126) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:01PM (#29275325)
    Another inevitable function of this contact lens is recording video. Everything you see passes through this lens, so you will be able to record everything you see (except, of course, for dreams and hallucinations).

    It would be like Tivo for your life.
  • by Xin Jing (1587107) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:07PM (#29275381)
    My eyes get tired now from looking intently at a screen for hours each day, imagine the new ailments that can arise from such an invention! This reminds me of a Mad Magazine parody of the Six Million Dollar Man, where his targeting crosshairs blocked what he was looking at, begging the question - how do you turn it off? On the upside, you could browse the internet, send messages, play games and watch movies in perfect privacy. It could allow more taboo segments of the entertainment industry a legitimate platform. Videodrome anyone?
  • Re:yes! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:12PM (#29275435) Homepage

    No no no no no

    It'll be used to present a VR overlay ("skin") on your generic sex-bot, which will be printed with a pattern that the lenses can easily recognize so it can correctly orient the 3-D model. Get bored with the Angelina Jolie skin? Fick your eyes to the side to cycle forward to the Cindy Crawford skin in mid-stroke!

    Holy shit, I think I need to patent that...

  • Re:yes! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:14PM (#29275449)

    Couldn't they figure out a way to power it using energy from the human body itself? Or, couldn't it be powered in much the same way as an RFID chip is powered? You could also transmit data in the same way, no?

  • by phayes (202222) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:14PM (#29275455) Homepage

    I suppose that the micro-lenses focus the output of a LED directly on the retina but do not see how LCD type displays referred to in TFS can work. Anyone?

    The problem for those who have not realized it is that LCDs in contact lenses are too close to the eye to work. They would subtract some light but be invisible much like a screen is when you put your face up to it & focus outside.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:14PM (#29275459)

    Blinks. Leech kinetic energy from the eyelid. Teeny-tiny stick-on magnets go on the outside of your eyelid; they'll be the next fashion statement. Every time you blink, it induces a current pulse in the lens pickup coils.

    For that matter, it might be possible to collect energy from saccades and other natural eye movements. That's potentially a higher-res and lower-latency method for eye-tracking than cameras, which you'll need for AR, and if you can harvest energy to boot, so much the better!

    I don't have the physics/EE chops to run the numbers, but I'll bet you'd get more power this way than from a "solar cell module". (Who wants to keep their eyes wide open and directed toward a bright light source?)

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:17PM (#29275501)

    Divert 10% of the incoming light to a recorder, and the wearer will never notice. Put the sensors on the outside face of some of the opaque lens components. Or put them around the periphery. There's no way you're going to do AR without a way to detect and analyze the "R" that you're "A"ing, anyhow.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:24PM (#29275579)

    as far as i know current contact lens arent working for everybody, since some need some really heavy duty glassware, but with this you have lens that can alter the image to any degree, making them usable by anyone, it's really got some real world potential not childish applications like most above ...

  • by Cedric Tsui (890887) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:24PM (#29275597)
    Or you could use burn glucose.
    the cells in the cornea are fed not by blood vessels (which wouldn't be transparent) but get their oxygen from the air, and their nutrients and sugars from your tears. The lens could do the same thing.
  • by clt829 (820534) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:33PM (#29275743)
    They've put a single LED in a contact lens, so now we have Augmented Reality.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:03PM (#29276089)

    I worry about heat. The control, radio, display, and power circuitry are all going to produce heat. It would have to be a very efficient piece of technology to prevent discomfort if not eye damage. Most of these will be on the outside of the lens and can benefit from some insulation (enough?) but the sensor must be on the inside.

  • by Mishotaki (957104) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:05PM (#29276111)

    I really can't wait for the first hacker who manages to hack someone else's lens to output an extremely bright light to the wearer...

    so that he has to remove those lens, because the natural reflex of closing the eye is totally useless!

    When you're arrested by the cops: "my lenses were hacked! i really didn't see that stop sign!"

    Or: "cause of death: blinded by his lenses while driving"

    Such an interesting future is coming towards us!

  • Cybernetic Eyes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Baron_Yam (643147) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:14PM (#29276279)

    Forget a contact on my eye - replace the whole eyeball. Give me low light, infrared, light reduction, bloom compensation, microscope and telescope functions, facial recognition, recording, playback, computer display link, etc.

    Pretty much everyone needs glasses by 40 anyway, why not just get new eyes when you're 18?

    I know we're a long way off from being able to plug a camera directly into the optic nerve, but when that day comes I'm up for it.

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