Augmented Reality Contact Lenses Unveiled?
January 4, 2013 in Technology
“The Centre of Microsystems Technology (CMST), imec’s associated laboratory at Ghent University (Belgium), has announced that it has developed an innovative spherical curved LCD, which can be embedded in contact lenses. The first step toward fully pixelated contact-lens displays, this achievement has potential wide-spread applications in medical and cosmetic domains.
Unlike LED-based contact-lens displays, which are limited to a few small pixels, imec’s LCD-based technology permits the use of the entire display surface. By adapting the patterning process of the conductive layer, this technology enables applications with a broad range of pixel number and sizes, such as a one-pixel, fully covered contact lens acting as adaptable sunglasses, or a highly pixelated contact-lens display.
The first prototype contains a patterned dollar sign, depicting the many cartoons that feature people or figures with dollars in their eyes. It can only display rudimentary patterns, similar to an electronic pocket calculator. In the future, the researchers envision fully autonomous electronic contact lenses embedded with this display. These next-generation solutions could be used for medical purposes—for example, to control the light transmission toward the retina in case of a damaged iris, or for cosmetic purposes such as an iris with a tunable color. In the future, the display could also function as a heads-up display, superimposing an image onto the user’s normal view. However, there are still hurdles to overcome for broader consumer and civilian implementation.”