Long gone are the days where contact lenses were simply for improving your eye sight, now they’re more cosmetic than ever…particularly around Halloween, and the innovations aren’t stopping there. Scientists are now trialling bionic contact lenses to read your emails, receive a text message on, record medical information and even work as a sat nav by projecting images across your eyes. We’ve taken a look at three contrasting uses of contact lenses which range from the ordinary to the outlandish…
1. Looking “Freaky”
They’ve made their way on to the high street, in to fancy dress shops around the country and are particularly popular at Halloween. You can get: zebra stripes, red eyes, white eyes, cat’s eyes, leopard spots, patterns, jaws and snake eyes – the manufacturers have really gone to town with these novelty lenses! Available in pretty much every design you can imagine you can now purchase them in all colours, patterns and shapes imaginable. There are even lenses around on the market with jet black pupils and teeth surrounding them! This rather cosmetic use of lenses as part of a costume or specific look perhaps laid the foundations for what is being trialled now by scientists…
2. Reading Emails?
Previously something borne only of science fiction movies this idea is now trickling its way onto the outskirts of reality as per a BBC report last year – a brand new generation of contact lenses, bionic contact lenses. They’re now one step closer to the mainstream and being commercially available after successful trials from which scientists reported it’s now feasible to project images on to contact lenses as they come through to a device…now that’s some impressive micro-technology!
Issues to Overcome
The reason they’re not in your local Argos yet is there are still, understandably a few issues to iron out…for example locating a suitable power source. Presently they need to be in very close proximity to the wireless battery that powers them. Another issue lies in the amount of detail of the imagery that can seen by the eye when wearing these lenses – this is presently limited due to the small number of pixels that can be used safely. Other limitations are the final material used to construct the lenses for this must have dexterity, be delicate and of course be completely harmless to the eye – there’s still a long way to go but it’s an exciting prospect none the less!
Ideas for Use
One idea that’s been mentioned is to hook up the lenses to biosensers and give real time medical information about the wearer, another is to plug in directions to a sat nav type programme and project the directions across the wearer’s eye as they drive. They could also take computer gaming to a whole new level so forget 3D – perhaps 4D or even 5D could become possible! If scientists can figure out a way to include more pixels in to the lenses to add more detail and refinement to the projected images then all of this could be possible.
3. Improving Eyesight
Well this is a rather obvious and unexciting one to end on…if you want to avoid the geek-sheek look and faffing around putting glasses on and off then get yourself a suave pair of lenses. Wearable for those with long or short sighted eyesight if you’re not too squeamish about touching your eye then lenses provide the perfect solution and are widely in use today.
So, to conclude – I’m not sure about you, but the idea of having electrically powered appliances resting on my eyes unnerves me a bit…although being able to read text messages simply by opening my eyes and pressing a button does sound pretty cool I’ll admit!
Click through to Get Lenses for the more ordinary type of contact lens…