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Science Technology

Electronic Contact Lens Displays Pixels On the Eye 126

An anonymous reader writes "The future of augmented-reality technology is here — as long as you're a rabbit. Bioengineers have placed the first contact lenses containing electronic displays into the eyes of rabbits as a first step on the way to proving they are safe for humans. The bunnies suffered no ill effects, the researchers say."
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Electronic Contact Lens Displays Pixels On the Eye

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  • Strange Coincidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jenic ( 1231704 ) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @10:04AM (#38157648)
    A strange coincidence that I happen to be reading Rainbows End right now.
  • by stevew ( 4845 ) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @10:39AM (#38157856) Journal

    It may very well be practical to put electronics next to the eyeball to do a display or whatever, but you do NOT want to put any kind of RF source/sink there. There would only be two ways to power such a unit - solar and RF energy beamed in ala RFID. The pictures I've seen suggest the latter. Having a resonant antenna at such frequencies would scare the heck out of me. Local heating or perhaps re-radiation at microwave frequencies next to something that is essentially H2O? You do KNOW that is why microwave ovens work.

    I think I'll stick with LCD monitors.

  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:57PM (#38160462)

    But there are technical hurdles.

    One is the power requirements. How bright do the LED's need to be being so close to the eye. Next there would need to be very fast electronic processing in the contact lenses, and it would have to be very fast. It would need to be able to process a radio signal and display the results in real time and there would need to be enough radio spectrum and data throughput for at least three people or four people within a cubic meter. So obviously the first displays will be monochromatic and a very simple self generated text/vector displays rather than video. That would be sufficient for a HUD setup. The lenses will probably be expensive so more than likely they would be implanted within the eye like artificial corneas and will likely take up the entire surface of the eye and require removal of the eyeball from the socket for implantation.

    They will need a refresh rate at least ten times faster than the eye and be able to detect orientation and focus and be able to compensate. Only what is in the center of vision would need to be in focus.

    Then there is the question of heat generation. Even a small amount of heat my degrade the health of an eye. The more processing the contact lens does the more heat it generates. While I do think that someday electronics may be low power enough to run on the equivalent power of static electricity shock for an hour we are nowhere near there yet and probably won't be for a hundred years.

    I see implants that tap into the optic nerves as far more likely and realistic. They could run on glucose and oxygen in the blood and could generate a little heat while being tolerant of our bodies latent heat. If the device doesn't generate a signal the the optic nerve would operate normally but with an active signal and under normal circumstances it would be switched to an artificial processed signal. Imagine televisions being no more than a green screen but having an overlay of a video signal generated electronically inside your head. I can also imagine artificially perfect eyes mechanically similar to our natural ones but far superior being offered as replacements once the optic nerve can be tapped. The bionic eye could be feasible to where you could recognize someone a football field away and or focus on things very close up. A greater sensitivity to light to see in the dark as well as frequency shifting effects so you can see infrared and ultraviolet light.

  • by willy_me ( 212994 ) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:57PM (#38160872)
    Hence the 4 year itch. Breakups frequently occur after 4 years - the biological time between insemination and the time a child/mother pair can survive without the assistance of a male. It's amazing how our instincts affect our daily lives without us even realizing it. We like to think our decisions are rational when in actuality, they are guided by biology.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.