Film coating could transform a contact lens into a computer screen (Wired UK)

American Chemical Society

Google Glass was somewhat beset with controversies — often thought to be unsightly, the tech was also banned in cinemas, declared “no safer than texting” when worn by drivers, and subject to privacy debates. They may be resigned to the past, however, as a new contact lens is developed that can act as a computer screen. 

The proof of concept, published in Applied Materials and Interfaces and designed by researchers at the University of South Australia, details a polymer film coating that conducts electricity on a contact lens. This could, the researchers say, eventually allow the development of a tiny electrical circuit that could sit on a lens worn by a person, allowing someone to read text or project a computer screen direct from their eye.

Referring to the technology as a “game changer”, Professor Drew Evans, who worked on the project, said the method would be a safe way of bringing wearable tech even closer.

“We’re talking about anything from a simple sensor that can measure the amount of glucose in the blood through to actually creating electronic displays,” he said. “So rather than having something like a pair of glasses that acts like a computer, you can generate images directly onto your contact lens”. 

The contact lens works by coating a normal lens with a thin, “biocompatibilising” film, which allows a conductive electronic circuit to work with the body. The lens is pretreated with plasma in order to facilitate both the attachment of the film and its adherence to the eye. The polymers used in the lens have also been used to create ‘smart windows’, which darken and lighten and may have application as camouflage for the military.

The research has taken several years, and the team now hope that the lens will enter further testing and potentially be available to consumers in the UK and elsewhere. Their next step, they say, is developing complementary technology that can read and translate the information transmitted by the conducting polymers. 

 “What is really significant is that the materials we are developing are not only safe but also have the potential for a range of personalised health monitoring applications that could make life simpler for people struggling with chronic health problems,” Evans said.

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4 February 2016 | 2:27 pm – Source:


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