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Press Release for “Terminator”-Like Contact Lens Lets You Read Emails Before Your Eyes

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Live data that streams directly before your eyes à la The Terminator sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but researchers are thisclose to making it a reality. In a study published in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and MicroengineeringUniversity of Washington researchers demonstrated the safety of such a device by testing it in the eye of a rabbit. Although the prototype contained only a pixel of information, which appears as a tiny dot of light, scientists say it’s a proof of concept that could lead to superimposed emails and other messages in your line of sight. Talk about hands-free communication.

SCANNING IN PROCESS

Developed through a partnership with Aalto University in Finland, the “bionic” contact uses metal circuits only a few nanometers thick, or roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair. An on-lens antenna draws radio-frequency radiation from an external source before transferring the energy to the integrated circuit for storage. The lens then transmits the information to a transparent sapphire chip that contains a single micro-LED, just one-third of a millimeter in diameter.

The “bionic” contact uses metal circuits only a few nanometers thick, or one-thousandth the width of a human hair.

The researchers faced more than their share of hurdles, however. The human eye, with its minimum focal distance of several centimeters, cannot resolve objects on a contact lens, which means the team had to incorporate a series of micrometer-scale Fresnel lenses—multi-part lenses first used in lighthouses—to help focus the images.

Significant improvements also have to be made before remotely powered high-resolution displays are fully realized. “Although we could power our system in free space from more than a meter, operating distances on the rabbit eye were reduced to the centimeter range,” saysBabak Parviz, an associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington and a co-author of the paper. “We are working to reduce the power consumption of individual pixels.”

If successful, the lens could receive data from external platforms like cellphones and provide real-time notifications of important events. As contact-lens-based biosensors become more advanced, it could even monitor physiological anomalies like a diabetic patient’s glucose level.

“If such displays were successfully deployed,” Parvis adds, “they would fundamentally change the nature of interaction between humans and visual information.”

Let’s hope Skynet isn’t listening.

 

Press Release: http://www.washington.edu/news/2011/11/22/big-step-forward-for-safety-of-bionic-contact-lenses/

 

Article Credit: http://www.ecouterre.com

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