Ghent contact lens puts LCD on your iris

Friday, December 14th, 2012 By

Close-up of a woman wearing contact lenses.

She’s getting turn-by-turn directions to your house via an LCD in her contact lens – allegedly. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Matt McDaniel/Flickr)

The smartphone revolution is no longer news, as everyone and their dog are staring at a video screen right now, regardless of where they’re located. But don’t think that screen is always going to be located on a hand-held (or paw-held) device. Scientists in Belgium have brought us much closer to the reality of having an LCD in a contact lens, reports Business Insider.

Ghent contact lens puts screen in a curved lens

Belgian scientist Jelle De Smet and researchers at Ghent University have successfully built an LCD screen into a curved contact lens. The “Ghent contact lens” uses conductive polymers, molded into an incredibly thin, curved surface with active layers that work as an LCD screen. And that’s the “primitive prototype,” according to the scientific team that created it.

A new smartphone revolution in contact lens form

The Ghent contact lens should prove to be quite a commercial windfall for the company that proves able to bring consumer-ready versions to mass market. Researchers believe that in the relatively near future, LCD contact lenses will not only be able to relay information, but they’ll be able to change the color of the wearer’s irises, function as sunglasses or even protect sensitive or damaged irises from bright light.

De Smet believes that an LCD heads-up display will function as you might think, superimposing information over the wearer’s view, in much the same way that the prototypes of Google Goggles have worked. Microsoft and Apple are scrambling to grab their own piece of that technological revolution.

Things to do with your LCD contact lenses

Conceivably, apps could make the Ghent contact lenses do much the same as modern smartphones. Turn-by-turn directions, sports and weather stats, name tags tied to facial recognition software for business networking purposes and language translation are all possibilities rich with social and business import. As to whether distracted walking, biking or especially driving will be an issue, odds are that lawmakers and safety agencies will weigh in.

Text messages delivered to your contact lens

Sources

Business Insider

CBC

NBC News

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