New Technology Allows Contact Lenses to Display Images Wirelessly

December 10, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

A new technology is a foot to have your text messages deliver straight to your eye. Not exactly your eye, but to the contact lens in your eye.

Ghent University’s Centre of Microsystems technology has shaped up a spherical curved LCD display which can be embedded in contact lenses. This is then capable of projecting images using wireless technology.

There have been previous technologies that worked in a similar way, but those contact lens displays were limited to a few small pixels to make up an image. But this new technology makes use of the whole curved surface of the lens to make up an image.

Professor Herbert De Smet said that with a start on the technology, they would be able to expand in its uses and emerge with more applications that could be available within a few years time. For example, one of the popular applications touted is a “one pixel, fully covered contact lens acting as adaptable sunglasses”.

Jelle De Smet, who is the chief researcher on the project, believes that within a timeframe of five years, commercial applications of the lenses would be available.”This is not science fiction. This will never replace the cinema screen for films,” he said.

“But for specific applications it may be interesting to show images such as road directions or projecting text messages from our smart phones straight to our eye,”De Smet added. A perfection of the technology could result in “fully pixelated contact lens displays”, which can have the same detailing as a TV.

The lenses could also find medical and cosmetic applications. If a person has damaged iris, then the lenses can be used to control the light transmission towards the eye’s retina.

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