Collaborative research by Aalto University in Finland and the University of Washington in the NW USA, has produced a contact lens that can show simple images, controlled and powered wirelessly.
- On the one hand, cue a rash of pundits predicting Terminator-style personal-imagery applications.
- On The Other Hand, the test lens contained the grand total of one pixel, so it's early days.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Ken Murphy's stunning timelapse, 'A History of the Sky'...
Michelle Roberts reports:
The technology could allow wearers to...augment their sight with computer-generated images, Terminator-syle. ... [N]ow that initial safety tests in rabbits have gone well...the researchers have renewed faith about the device's possibilities.
For example, drivers could wear them to see journey directions or their vehicle's speed projected onto the windscreen. ... They could also provide up-to-date medical information like blood sugar levels by linking to biosensors in the wearer's body. ... The [Washington University] scientists, working with colleagues at Aalto University in Finland, have now adapted the lenses to shorten the focal distance.
Brid-Aine Parnell adds:
Soon you too could assess random bikers for the probability that their clothes will fit you. ... But not very soon, since the working prototype currently only contains a single pixel.
[R]esearchers used Fresnel lenses...to focus the projected image onto the retina. ... [It] has an antenna to pick up power from an external source. ... However, although the lenses could be powered from a metre away when they tested it...once they were in the rabbit's eyes that distance was reduced to about 2cm, so there's quite a lot of work still to be done.
Gareth Halfacree half-agrees:
Granted, the team has a long way to go before you can start reading your emails or playing Quake whilst staring blankly into space. ... The purpose of the experiment isn't to provide bunnies with a built-in entertainment system...but to prove that it's possible to provide a signal and...power to components located on the surface of a contact lens.
While poor old Matthew Finnegan begins again:
[We] can imagine having your bank balance flickering up as you approach a pub could be handy, as well as a large hovering arrow ushering you home after six pints.
And Paul Marks geeks it up:
The test lens was powered remotely using a 5-millimetre-long antenna printed on the lens to receive gigahertz-range radio-frequency energy from a transmitter. ... [A] series of concentric annular sections...generate[d] the ultrashort focal length needed.
All the 40-minute-long tests on live rabbits were performed under general anaesthetic...and fluroescence tests showed no damage or abrasions to the rabbit's eyes after the lenses were removed.
But this anonymous Murdoch employee just can't help punning it up:
The prototype was made by Professor Babak Parviz...and his pupils.
Prof Parviz said [it's]...more than just a glint in the inventor's eye.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.