Researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, led by Babak Parviz, have incorporated electronic circuitry into a plastic lens, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for “on-eye” displays, transistors for computing, a radio for wireless communication and an antenna for collecting power from a radio source, such as a mobile phone, in a person’s pocket. [Reference:The Economist]
The ability to feed digital information directly to the eye(s) has been a major area of research for decades. Heads-Up-Displays (HUD) of one kind or another have been featured in science fiction for even longer. Now, as the miniaturization of digital components goes on apace and the science of bionics encompasses new materials and techniques – plastic contact lenses are a successful target for digital display. The current generation of lenses are primitive, essentially prototypes, but the technology is advancing rapidly. Questions remain, for example: Will digital contact lenses have side-effects (occular or mental)? Will the human mind be able to handle multiple visual inputs, especially under duress?