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Researcher Holds Completed Lens  (Source: University of Washington)

Rabbit Wearing Prototype Lens  (Source: University of Washington)
Scientists develop contact lens with imprinted electronic circuits

Of all the powers Superman boasts, the two most appealing to many of us are the power of flight and X-ray vision. While the power of flight is not likely to happen without an airplane, the superhuman vision may be just around the corner.

Engineers from the University of Washington (UW) used advanced manufacturing techniques to combine a flexible and safe contact lens suitable to be worn on the eye like any other contact lens with imprinted electronic circuits and lights.

According to Babak Parviz, associate professor of electrical engineering at UW, “Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside. This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising.”

The uses for such wearable contact lens displays are many from simple heads up displays while driving in your car or piloting a plane to complex systems for soldiers making the world through a soldiers eyes more like the view from a current video game.

A prototype lens was constructed that contains an electronic circuit as well as red LED lights for a display. The catch with the prototype is that the LEDs don’t light up. The researchers put the contact lens into the eyes of rabbits in animal testing for periods of up to 20 minutes without any side effects for the animals.

The researchers plan to eventually power the lenses using a combination of radio frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens according to Parviz. The large portion of the eye outside the transparent portion of the eye could be used to place the required electronics.

The prototype lens was constructed using circuits built from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick and about one thousandth the width of a human hair. A powder of electrical components was then sprinkled onto a flexible plastic sheet and capillary forces combined with the design of the electrical components in the powder being built to only connect one way constructs the components via self-assembly.

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non-visible wave lengths
By kattanna on 1/18/2008 1:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
so when will they be able to make it "see" in other wave lengths. contact lenses that allow you to see plainly at night would be very useful, as well as magnification

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By PAPutzback on 1/18/2008 1:40:35 PM , Rating: 5
Heck why not just regular glasses that would do that.

How long before this thread goes the way of an AMD\Intel dispute about who would make a better chip for the lense

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Sylar on 1/18/2008 2:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I'm curious about.

Why jump straight to contacts? Wouldn't it be more practical to develop glasses first?

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2008 2:13:33 PM , Rating: 1
They already have glasses for the blind that convert speech to text on one of the lenses. I don't think they're very advanced though.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Amiga500 on 1/18/2008 2:23:28 PM , Rating: 5
You mean deaf I assume? :-)

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By ImSpartacus on 1/18/2008 2:31:29 PM , Rating: 2
I think that's what he means. That would be kind of cool for deaf people though.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Polynikes on 1/18/2008 2:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, that's what I was thinking. :)

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By ImSpartacus on 1/18/2008 2:30:57 PM , Rating: 3
Something tells me the only type of glasses blind people need are sunglasses, but I've been wrong before.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Christopher1 on 1/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: non-visible wave lengths
By derwin on 1/18/2008 3:26:27 PM , Rating: 2
they have done that, but not with contacts; instead they just use a camera (i think the one I am thinking of was placed on a pair of glasses, could have been wrong though). A blind man drove a car around a parking lot if i remember correctly using his coritcal implants. He had something like 32x32 pixel vision though, lol. I am speaking from distant (months) memory, but I remember that this was just a testing thing, and nothing is near production.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By winterspan on 1/25/2008 1:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the technology is actually quite amazing.
There are a few different types of research going on, depending on the eye condition or severity of blindness.
For certain conditions such as macular degeneration or others that leave part of the retina intact, they can use these electrode implants to stimulate the healthy cells. In other similar devices, they implant a special lens into the eye that replaces your natural lens and redirects light to the healthy part of the retina.

They even are experimenting with brain implants. In these cases, the retina is totally gone from cancer, injuries, etc.

Similar to the retina implants, they use a CCD-like device mounted in glasses which then sends impulses to an electrode grid; but this implant actually connects directly to the visual cortex in the brain and is able to stimulate the neurons into creating a subjective experience of sight. Indeed, it's quite amazing.
I believe they are currently only up to double digit sized electrode grids which don't provide much resolution, but they are able to detect different intensities of light and start to see shape boundaries.
I'm sure they will be able to scale this up into the thousands some day.. I bet that would be incredible for vision impaired people.
I can only imagine the progress they will make in the next 25-50 years.

If you can't tell by now, I'm very interested in biomechanical engineering and computational neuroscience.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Adonlude on 1/18/2008 3:56:57 PM , Rating: 4
No dispute, the answer is obvious. Intel would make the better processor: the Cornea 2 Duo of course.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By murphyslabrat on 1/18/2008 4:08:27 PM , Rating: 5
wow, that was such a cornea joke

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By DanoruX on 1/18/2008 4:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
...and the inevitable Apple iEye which uses it is bound to catch on despite its $1800 pricetag.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By AntiV6 on 1/18/2008 4:27:36 PM , Rating: 3
You killed it.


RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Mal Ingerer on 1/18/2008 9:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
Hey I don't want an eyeBrick! Imagine sending that thing to China for repairs!

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Silver2k7 on 1/19/2008 5:00:56 AM , Rating: 2
"Apple iEye" no no you got it wrong its the

Apple i-Patch makes you look like a pirate yarrr!! :D

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By DanoruX on 1/19/2008 10:54:04 AM , Rating: 5
iAye, captain...

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Imaginer on 1/20/2008 3:59:13 AM , Rating: 3
And watch as the MPAA and Hollywood restrict your view all of a sudden and make you blind just like that!

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By DragonMaster0 on 1/21/2008 9:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
iEye with DRM :D

Pay only $129 every two years to get support for the latest DRM licenses upgrades.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By fxyefx on 1/19/2008 12:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt they could make much more complex systems for normal eyeglasses with today's technology... but it's interesting that steps have already been taken for contact-based augmented reality. Especially with the popularity of contacts now... I'd bet that 3 out of 10 people I meet wear them these days.

AMD will no doubt make the chips for the one-contact-per-child projects. Intel will rule the high-end contacts for contact enthusiasts and overclockers... The question is, how will the review sites benchmark them??

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Megadeth on 1/18/2008 1:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
Lets see... Would I be better off going with Digital zoom or Optical zoom....

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By murphyslabrat on 1/18/2008 4:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
optical zoom could probably be achieved with stretching or contracting the contact.

Digital zoom, assuming a high enough resolution, would probably be good enough, though.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By saratoga on 1/21/2008 1:31:38 AM , Rating: 2
Probably optical. I don't see how you could do digital zoom without surgically implanting a sensor inside your eye, since the focal plane of a contact lens must be inside the eye itself.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By saiga6360 on 1/18/2008 1:45:59 PM , Rating: 4
Gotta go to prison. Two packs for a shine job.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By ImSpartacus on 1/18/2008 2:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm losing you. I smell an innuendo. Someone explain for the lesser intelligent of us.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Etsp on 1/18/2008 2:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
The movie "Pitch Black"

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Ajax9000 on 1/18/2008 6:47:32 PM , Rating: 2
Love that film (despite it having plot holes you could drive a truck through :-), OTOH the sequel was pure garbage.

RE: non-visible wave lengths
By Christopher1 on 1/18/08, Rating: -1
Star Trek: TNG
By amanojaku on 1/18/2008 1:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
Move over, Geordi LaForge!

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 1:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
Next trick is to keep it from rubbing off when one scrubs the lens each night (on both sides) to take off the crud eyes leave on it -- as well as being resistant to tears that make some things dissolve. Also seems that the oxygen permeability that's important may be reduced. Yes, I've got contacts... :-)

Or maybe they're disposables?

P.S. - Still don't see how I get my x-ray vision from this though.

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By amanojaku on 1/18/2008 1:48:15 PM , Rating: 5
Woman: Are you undressing me with your contacts?
Man: I'm sorry, but, yes. How did you know?
Woman: You're grimacing.

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By Creig on 1/18/2008 4:11:54 PM , Rating: 3
Give the shape most of the people in my office are in, I hope you will be able to switch off the X-Ray function at will.

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By Ringold on 1/18/2008 2:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
This is another one for those that deride Star Trek as pure fantasy.

We're skipping right past The Next Generation tech, going straight for the Insurrection / Nemesis end-game.

When was the last time As The World Turns inspired technology or foresaw what was just down the pike? :P

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By amanojaku on 1/18/2008 4:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
Eh! Insurrection? Nemesis? Geordi had the lenses in First Contact!

I never saw the last seasons, so I don't know when he got rid of the VISOR.

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By Ringold on 1/18/2008 10:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
First Contact?


My utter failure to remember that.. means I must sacrifice a chunk of my Saturday "studying". Oh well. Didn't have a date anyway..

RE: Star Trek: TNG
By tmouse on 1/21/2008 9:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
Well to be fair there have been MANY Sci-Fi stories long before Star Trek about cybernetic sight. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best) as a biologist the trek series overall rated a 3 (at best) in biological accuracy and trying to extrapolate on that only made it worse. It was good fiction just not very good science fiction (although that problem is not limited to them, I find MOST Sci-Fi poor at best today).

Friggin Laser Beam
By bplewis24 on 1/18/2008 2:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
Call me when they can shoot out laser beams.


RE: Friggin Laser Beam
By OdinX on 1/18/2008 6:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
pew pew pew lazors.

I approve of this thread. And desire to be a test subject for contact lens laser beam testing.

RE: Friggin Laser Beam
By bplewis24 on 1/19/2008 1:49:28 AM , Rating: 2
Love those sound effects.


RE: Friggin Laser Beam
By cunning plan on 1/21/2008 4:16:24 AM , Rating: 2


By AggressorPrime on 1/19/2008 5:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
I just realized that this could be used to cheat so much easier in the academic environment. Now administrators will have to check students' eyes before they can take tests. And if this technology is made in such a way that the electronics are not seen, then detection would be almost impossible. Just a thought...

RE: Cheating
By Imaginer on 1/20/2008 4:03:31 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of cheating, wouldn't use of these devices also have a possibility of thwarting optical retna scanners for security?

RE: Cheating
By MrTeal on 1/21/2008 9:10:13 AM , Rating: 2
Not really. Even if these were to become prevalent, the professors could just make exams open book. I know I tend to fear the open book exams more than the closed book ones.

Cybernetically enhanced rabbits?
By Chris Peredun on 1/18/2008 1:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
TIM: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
TIM: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on.

By FITCamaro on 1/18/2008 2:11:52 PM , Rating: 2


By Master Kenobi on 1/18/2008 2:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
We are the borg. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

By derwin on 1/18/2008 3:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
love it

When can it play doom?
By Amiga500 on 1/18/2008 2:16:29 PM , Rating: 3
Full 360deg virtual reality might one day become as compact as 2 contact lenses!


probably not glasses because....
By michal1980 on 1/18/2008 2:36:05 PM , Rating: 1
If its on your eye its easier to make the circuit be 'invisiable'.

esspically if you have to see 'through'. Kind of like a screen on the window. if its far away it blocks away some of what you see. but get close enough and you can barely tell its there.

By winterspan on 1/25/2008 1:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
that makes sense, but I would assume in the contacts, all the opaque circuitry would go into the area around the pupil.
Of course, I'm sure by the time we see this type of technology make it out of the lab, they'll be using transparent organic polymer semi-conductors... Probably wouldn't be able to even notice it's not a regular contact lens..

By heffeque on 1/18/2008 8:33:11 PM , Rating: 2
"Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex" anyone?

By HighWing on 1/22/2008 1:10:00 PM , Rating: 1
Thats exactly what I was thinking.

As great as this is, I don't see how they could implement enough security to keep someone from just sending out a strong signal to override and make people wearing these contacts see what the attacker wants them to see.

And for those of you that don't understand what I'm talking about, I suggest you go rent "Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex" and pay attention to the Laughing Man episodes. Or read this ->

By bfellow on 1/18/2008 1:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
Who needs to see far away, when you already have x-ray vision?

By Ammohunt on 1/18/2008 2:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
If they are clever they could power it with blinks. Not sure if i want a checker board pattern on my eye all the time. Be cool to ready books that way though or perhaps promote lucid dreaming.

By fic2 on 1/18/2008 3:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Would make a cool enhancement for a halloween costume...

One Set please
By TimberJon on 1/18/2008 3:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if these will help to interface with the helmet-mounted HUD eye-tracking technology.

It'd be nice to add an IR and NV overlay to your daily life.

By dflynchimp on 1/18/2008 9:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
What every male Naruto-nerd wants.

Better then your own eyes.
By finetsky on 1/19/2008 8:11:48 AM , Rating: 2
If you consider how fast microelectronics improves year after year I wonder how long it takes that your brand new lenses will be actually much more powerfull than your own eyes. They will be connected to your visual cortex so there will be no need to use your eyes any more. Because your eyes would be such a crap. I guess sooner or later Its gonna happen...

By Armorize on 1/19/2008 2:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
say hello to 20/1 vision (im no expert that just sounds better). built in night vision and thermal vision (for the military first of course) and by 2100 the public will finally recieve these babies.

This may help me . . .
By JohnnyCNote on 1/19/2008 11:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
. . . because I sustained an eye injury resulting from an assault back in '81. I've been through 9 surgeries, and still don't have usable vision in my left eye. It would be great if I could regain at least some depth perception and peripheral vision.

I read about some researcher who was testing an implantable video camera, but this would be a lot more practical if it could be made to help in my situation. I'll have to show this to my ophthalmologist . . .

By ZaethDekar on 1/20/2008 5:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
I have been wanting something like this for years.

I just think it would be awesome to have an overlay showing heart rate + the ability to have a 'ghost' of where I've jogged. Talk about fun.

By ArashiHero on 1/22/2008 12:30:48 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno, all the new tech are cool. imagine if we can use x-ray eyes! wouldn't that be cool? then we won't need x-ray machines. still, glasses should be developed first. most people prefer glasses than contacts anyways. :)

glasses and contacts
By ArashiHero on 1/22/2008 12:33:12 AM , Rating: 2
hm... good point there. didn't think of that. we have smart people here! too bad i'm not one... :)

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