10 Ways Your Contact Lenses Will Help You in the Future
Jack Huber | Jul 29th 2016 Jun 1st 2017
Come with us on a short trip into the near future.But first, the past – in 1508, Leonardo da Vinci drew the inklings of an idea for contact lenses in a sketch. A few hundred years later, the first ones were produced. In much less time than that you’ll witness a revolution in what contact lenses will do besides correct your vision. Curious? We’ve compiled a few examples to show you what we mean.
Diabetes is filled with restrictions and inconveniences, but the finger prick to test blood sugar levels is probably the most loathed. Painful … annoying … constant … it’s near the top of the diabetic’s Top Ten Complaints List. Well, relief may be near. Google is working on contact lenses that would be able to gauge glucose levels, replacing that prick.
Might your eyes one day fill in the information that your brain has misplaced? Again, Google is working on it. If Aunt Nellie’s third husband’s name escapes you at the family reunion, there’s no need to go with “pal” or “buddy” anymore – Google to the rescue. This could also come in handy for police on patrol for criminals or for blind date bail-outs.
In the future, teenagers who are rolling their eyes may not be doing it for the traditional reasons (total disbelief or parental embarrassment). They may be scrolling on Facebook by moving their eyes. Scientists are at work on a conductive polymer film coating that could transform contact lenses into little computers, which would send electronic displays right over your eyeballs.
A Cure for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is dangerously high eye pressure that can lead to permanent blindness. Patients must get pressure measured several times a year – but that could change soon. Now in development, electronic sensors in contact lenses could measure pressure at all times, alerting doctors as soon as there’s danger. One day, pressure-measuring contact lenses might also be able to administer medicine that would deliver a cure.
If you know people for whom VCR technology of the early 1980s was a miracle, you may want to break this to them gently – to avoid blown minds. Sony and Samsung are working on video recorders embedded in contact lenses. They’re controlled by blinking. Sensors measure eyelid closure time, distinguishing between an average blink and extended blink for control. OK, that’s mind-blowing for us all.
Display-capable contact lenses are coming, and when they arrive they will change the world. And not just for gamers. If you think that’s an exaggeration, consider this: You could actually “attend” your favorite sporting event or theater production in the best seat in the house – while sitting in your living room lounge chair (or naked in bed, if that’s the way you roll).
No more fumbling for that silly phone camera. As early as 2014, Samsung filed a patent for a contact lens with a camera built in.You would control the camera by your blinking patterns, and transmit the images back to a smartphone.Embedding miniature cameras into contact lenses could also enable the blind to navigate dangerous situations, such as crossing the street, more easily.
Estimates on the coming of direct-to-eyeball displays ran anywhere from 15 to 50 years. But we’d better shorten that timeline, because Ghent University in Belgium has developed a spherical LCD display embedded within contact lenses. It will allow you to read text messages across your eyeball. This tech could also put those nice GPS voices out of business with directions that display on your eye.
Think 20/20 is perfect vision? Well, that is so last century. Ocumetics Technology Corp. thinks it can provide us with eyesight three times better than 20/20. Technically not contact lenses – since they’re actually implanted in an 8-minute surgery comparable to a cataract procedure – the devices would immediately correct vision problems, whether far, medium or near.
Driving at night is one thing, perfect night vision is quite another. At the University of Michigan, scientists are building a contact lens that would allow soldiers (and anyone else who cares or needs) to see in the dark using thermal imaging. They are employing grapheme (a single layer of carbon atoms) to pick up the full spectrum of light, including ultraviolet light.