Scientists develop sci-fi contact lens that zooms by blinking
The contact lens can zoom as it contracts and expands based on electrical cues taken from electrodes placed on the skin of the user.
Researchers from the University of California San Diego have finally developed a new contact lens that zooms with the blinking of the users. Blink twice and you get a close look at the object in front of you. The contact lens can be used for visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and remotely operated robotics in the future.
How does it work?
Researchers say that the soft contact lens is controlled by electrooculographic signals. These signals in our eyes provide information about the specific movements (up, down, left, right, blink, double blink) of the eyes. The lens is able to track these electric impulses obtained from the movement of the eye and change its focal length.
The focal length is changed by changing the shape of the lens. The thicker the lens, the less its focal length. This movement, which is similar to how our eyes work, is achieved by different areas of dielectric elastomer films included in the lens. These stretchy polymer films can change the size of the lens if current is applied to it.
The current is provided by an external source that expands and compresses the lens in the eye, increasing or decreasing the focal length. The electrodes placed on the skin help measure the eye movement and send commands that change the focal length of the lens. Currently, the user needs to place electrodes on the skin and around the eyes to measure the movement of the eyes.
With no physical button required, the user can use the lens in various ways like blinking twice to zoom and more.
But, there are a few complications related to the technology. The prototype developed by researchers only functions in a special rig. And if we want to make it usable, the components of the rig will have to be miniaturised.
Image Credit: University of California San Diego