Soon, you may literally be staring into the future of augmented reality. Researchers from imec and The Centre of Microsystems Technology (CMST) at Ghent University in Belgium have developed a spherical, curved LCD display that can be placed into contact lenses. The prototype, which was presented earlier this month, can flash a patterned dollar sign à la Looney Tunes cartoon characters. While the lens can only create rudimentary patterns akin to those displayed by a pocket calculator, engineers predict fully autonomous electronic lenses in the neat future that can aid in eye disorders such damage to the iris or retina.

[youtube width=”537″ height=”400″][/youtube]

Using thin conductive polymers and integrating them into a smooth spherical cell, scientists at the The Centre of Microsystems Technology (CMST) have invented a LCD display able to be integrated into a contact lens. “Normally, flexible displays using liquid crystal cells are not designed to be formed into a new shape, especially not a spherical one. Thus, the main challenge was to create a very thin, spherically curved substrate with active layers that could withstand the extreme molding processes,” said lead researcher Jelle De Smet. Differing from LED displays which can only take advantage of a few small pixels, the LCD technology can use the entire surface of the lens.

As a medical device future incarnations of the LCD lens could be used to regulate light into the eye, aiding those with damaged irises or retinas. Other applications could include superimposed “head-up” displays and changeable colors for fashion.

+ Ghent University

Via Science Daily