Published June 11, 2013
Researchers at several institutions have created a new technology that will empower future smart contact lenses.
The team developed a “transparent, highly conductive, and stretchy mix of graphene and silver nanowires” that it then attached to an off-the-shelf soft contact lens to give it Google Glass-like features, Technology Review reported.
The lenses were tested on rabbits because of similarities with the human eye and were found to be fully functional. The researchers noted that the rabbits didn’t attempt to rub their eyes nor did they grow bloodshot after five hours of testing.
“Our goal is to make a wearable contact-lens display that can do all the things Google Glass can do,” said research leader Jang-Ung Park, a chemical engineer at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.
True smart contacts with heads-up displays are still quite a few years out, however — the “display” on the tested lens was only one pixel. Nevertheless, researchers have high hopes for smart contacts and have continued to test new and useful ways of implementing the technology, such as monitoring a person’s health using lenses with integrated biosensors or helping those with vision problems with lenses that can filter light.