Want eyesight that would make the Terminator jealous? Well, in a few years, you might be able to say hasta la vista to your normal old contact lenses and hello to the solar powered augmented lenses that University of Washington professor Babak Amir Parviz and his students are working on. The technology would embed hundreds of semitransparent LEDs onto a thin lens, letting wearers experience augmented reality right through their eyes. And the applications – from health monitoring to just plain bionic sight – could be endless.
The lens that Parviz has been working on utilizes sensors and wireless technology and is still in its nascent stages but is definitely promising. Of his research, Parviz says, “These lenses don’t need to be very complex to be useful. Even a lens with a single pixel could aid people with impaired hearing or be incorporated as an indicator into computer games. With more colors and resolution, the repertoire could be expanded to include displaying text, translating speech into captions in real time, or offering visual cues from a navigation system. With basic image processing and Internet access, a contact-lens display could unlock whole new worlds of visual information, unfettered by the constraints of a physical display.”
All of this begs the question, as we move towards using less and less material to make our products, will we also move towards using more of our own body parts?