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Augmented Reality In a Contact Lens 196

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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  • by davide marney ( 231845 ) * <davide.marney@ne ... rg minus painter> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @12:52PM (#29275197) Journal

    Here's an illustration [] that explains it all in a glance.

  • Re:Basic optics FAIL (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:08PM (#29276161)

    ...because obviously these researchers were so stupid that they didn't realize this.

    I'll see your example and raise you a counter-example.

    I'm extremely nearsighted.

    View-Master [], a stereogram viewing toy, puts two small pieces of film a few inches from my eyes. I can normally see objects which are a couple of inches from my eyes, but I can't use View-Masters without my glasses on. (Hint: it has to do with lenses.)

  • Further challenges (Score:4, Informative)

    by dewarrn1 ( 985887 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:15PM (#29277065)
    I love the idea, but having conducted many eye-tracking sessions I think that there are a number of basic challenges that the contact-lens implementation would need to overcome. First, contacts drift all over the cornea. It's really quite disconcerting to watch, especially when you've got obvious markers like vanity-coloring for irises. Station-keeping over the pupil would require technology that's not mentioned here. Alternatively, you might monitor the portion of the contact that's positioned over the pupil at any given moment using photocells on the underside to catch light reflected off the retina, but then you'll need a bigger display and use up valuable real estate. Second, similarly and perhaps even more importantly, orientation maintenance. If there was a good way for contact orientation to be maintained, bifocal contact lenses would be a reality already. Instead you encounter bizarre stopgaps like a reading lens in one eye and a distance lens in the other. Third, eyes are a fairly disgusting environment. Crud on regular contacts doesn't seem to impede vision, but the delicate electronics in a device like this might object to working in a wet, salty, bacteria-ridden setting unless very carefully insulated. Nothing bad about reaching for the dream, but I'll take a pair of prescription Virtual Light-style glasses while we're waiting.
  • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) * on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:16PM (#29277077) Homepage

    They are definitely working hard on artificial sight. However it will be quite a while before artificial sight will be near as good as natural sight. Certainly I'm not an expert, but I do find the field fascinating. Slashdot user BWJones is one of the field's prominent researchers, working for the University of Utah.

    There's a number of things which prohibit us from being able to produce drop-in replacements for eyeballs. One of which, for example, is that the precise nature of the work that the retina does for us is not completely understood. There was some research about a year ago which showed that the retina itself is responsible for a large amount of the neurological processing we formerly thought occurred in the brain. Also it sends a number of distinct data channels to the brain. For example, one of the channels is edge detection, one is luminosity, one is motion detection, one is color, and so on. The exact nature of all of the data channels is not precisely understood, and at a minimum we need to understand that before we can do much meaningfully with providing a replacement signal.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein