Thursday, January 24, 2008

LEDs in your contact lenses?

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have developed a prototype contact lens that incorporates an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. The prototype is a step toward creating a form of bionic vision, the researchers say.

The researchers say the flexible lens is biologically safe and was worn by rabbits for up to 20 minutes with no adverse effects. Along with a circuit, the prototype contains red LEDs for a display, though it does not yet light up. The display could potentially create a surface for Web surfing in midair, flash a vehicle's speed to a driver, or immerse someone in a virtual world, the university said.

The prototype lens does not correct vision, but the researchers say that it could someday offer "visual aids" to help people with vision problems.

As the team continues to work on the basic technology, it hopes to add wireless communication capabilities and to provide power to the system using both radio-frequency techniques and solar cells placed on the lens. Genius!

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