Smart Contact Lens With Power Harvesting Circuits
Smart contact lenses with virtual reality graphics and information just got a step closer. Professor Babak Parviz has added a power harvesting antenna to his contact lenses with microcircuits. I'm assuming that the device uses a system similar to that which powers Passive RFID tags.
Parviz hopes that smart contact lenses could provide heads-up displays with a much wider field of view, presenting an image that appears to float fifty centimeters in front of the user.
(Contact lens with power harvesting, LED)
Fitting a contact lens with circuitry is challenging. The polymer cannot withstand the temperatures or chemicals used in large-scale microfabrication, Parviz explains. So, some components – the power-harvesting circuitry and the micro light-emitting diode – had to be made separately, encased in a biocompatible material and then placed into crevices carved into the lens.
One obvious problem is powering such a device. The circuitry requires 330 microwatts but doesn't need a battery. Instead, a loop antenna picks up power beamed from a nearby radio source. The team has tested the lens by fitting it to a rabbit.
Parviz says that future versions will be able to harvest power from a user's cell phone, perhaps as it beams information to the lens. They will also have more pixels and an array of microlenses to focus the image so that it appears suspended in front of the wearer's eyes.
(Contact lens with circuits close-up)
Science fiction writers were well out ahead on this idea. In their 1992 collaboration The California Voodoo Game, Larry Niven and Steven Barnes wrote about smart scleral contact lenses with information projection capabilities:
To Nigel Bishop, the walls had become blue glass. He saw and evaluated holographic projection equipment, fiber optics, electrical and plumbing, communications...
His eyes no longer resembled human eyes...
"Scleral lenses?" she asked. "You've got DreamTime technology in contact lenses? That's not available to the public!"
(Read more about Niven and Barnes' DreamTime scleral contact lenses)
It seems clear that the scleral contacts describe a display upon which images or data can be viewed, and the images do not appear to be projected from elsewhere upon the surface of the lens. As far as I know, this is the first reference to the idea of powered smart contact lenses.
Fans of Vernor Vinge also recall the very detailed treatment of this idea in his award-winning 2006 novel Rainbows End and in his 2001 story Fast Times at Fairmont High; see the description of smart contact lenses to read relevant bits from both stories.
From New Scientist and Babak Parviz; thanks to BajaB for suggesting this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/15/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.
Cicret Makes Your Skin Into A Display
'On the translucent mica-like coverings over the orifices, appeared reddish characters...' - Schachner and Zagat, 1931.
Organic Photonic Skin Display
'A strip of readout skin on my wrist...' - John Varley, 1992.
Samsung Patent For Smart Contact Lens Camera Granted
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'
Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'
Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'
'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...'
Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'
Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...
Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.
President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'
Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'
Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'
Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!
Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories