As far as wearable vision correction goes, contact lenses wins the game. The remarkably thin lenses are unobtrusive, invisible to all, convenient, and pain-free. Their discreet design has attracted the attention of technology experts who are capitalizing on this phenomenon to invent many high-tech inventions. Here are five contact lenses will soon take technology to a whole new level.
Telescopic contact lenses
Have you always believed that you do have super-powers, you just don’t know about them yet? Well a team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology can turn your dreams into reality. The prototype lens devised by the team can make objects appear 2.8 times larger than reality for the wearer, just like a camera would do. Well, your super-power was super-human vision after all. Imagine, if you wanted to read some sign at the opposite side of the road, no need to cross over when you can just wink with one eye, and make your vision zoom in.
The lenses work due to a combination of tiny aluminum mirrors, which are positioned to bounce light in specific ways. Depending on which eye you wink with, a polarizing filter directs light either away or towards the mirrors. This technological breakthrough is nothing short of a miracle for those suffering from macular degeneration, in addition to offering a clandestine way of magnification for the military. Even if you don’t fit in any of those categories, you can still benefit from the superpower.
Dissolving ‘Nanowafer’ contact lenses
It’s a tough nut to crack to regularly deliver medicines to the eye. Since our eyes reflexively wipe or wash away most medicines, their effectiveness is minimized. Using eye-drops is completely another story, especially when to try to coax your squirmy children into compliance, with many missed attempts streaking down their faces. However, eye medicine doesn’t have to be dreaded anymore, according to researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Dallas. They have designed an ultra-thin contact lens that can be used to deliver drugs to the eye over a long period of time.
Known as the ‘Nanowafer’, the contraption dissolves slowly, releasing a pre-set dose into the eye. The rate at which it dissolves depends on the prescribed dosage and can be set anywhere from a few hours to several days. This helps to ascertain that you receive a steady, reliable does; something that regular eye drops fail to deliver. Thanks to its sleek design and ease of use, it’s inevitable that the concept would revolutionize the way we perceive eye-administered medicine.
3D-printed contact lenses
Seeing how delicate and intricate the human eye is, anything that goes in the eye has to be designed with the utmost care and precision. Coloured contact lenses are fabricated using delicate materials and exact specifications at the back. You can’t just design one at home… or can you?
You must have noticed how 3D printers are bringing the manufacturing process into the hands of the consumers. Small-scale printers are already commercially available to everyone. On an industrial scale, 3D printers are capable of printing anything from houses to custom machines. However, contact lenses are a whole different story since they have to be safe enough to be used inside a human eye.
Dutch company LUXeXcel devised a 3D printer that can print objects in a transparent material, ensuring a smooth finish that we seek in a lens. While the machine is still in its infancy, the technology has potential.
Glucose monitoring contact lens
People suffering from diabetes are all too aware of the inconvenient and disruptive process of checking blood sugar levels. Diabetes entails constant monitoring to make sure that your blood sugar levels don’t hike up, and the most common way of checking your blood glucose levels is through drawing blood. In an attempt to improve the lives of diabetes sufferers, Google is introducing a contraption that will be able to improve the lives of diabetes sufferers. The device is in the form of a contact lens, embedding a small chip and glucose sensor between two layers. As soon as your blood sugar levels get too high or too low, tiny LED lights indicate instantly. Since the device is still its testing phases, we have a long way to go before it can be ready for clinical trials. One thing we know for certain is that this device will greatly improve the quality of life for diabetes sufferers, and if anyone can pull of this ambitious feat, it is none other than Google.
Augmented reality contact lens
Augmented reality can work to completely alter our perception of the world. Tech company Innovega has come out with its iOptik system to take AR one step up. The lenses are able to produce a display anywhere in the eye’s vision. The device is projected to be able to display anything from video chat, to satellite navigation and social media pages; in a nutshell; anything your smart phone can show you. This would help people with tasks where both hands are needed. For example, imagine it’s the Halloween season and you are cycling through the breezy winding street. Now instead of wearing any type of contact lenses, you can choose to wear a Halloween contact lenses which includes a focusing feature while still viewing directions from Google Maps. Similarly, surgeons can check vital readings or look up facts right in the middle of surgery without looking away for a second.While the product is still in its development phase and won’t be available to consumers for several more years, it would be fun to watch it revolutionize our lives.