Smart Contact Lenses
This may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, and in a way, it is, but then again before smart-phones and smart-homes became commonplace the idea of talking to our TV’s and lights to turn them on was pretty out there too. The latest smart technology is being used in a new form of contact lenses called smart contact lenses. They can do everything from access your health, help you remember the names of people you’ve met, and oh, yeah help you see better! Read on to learn more about this fascinating futuristic development in the world of contact lenses.
What are smart contact lenses?
Smart Lenses combine contact lenses with technology. The company with the smart lens that may be available first is called Mojo Vision and based in California. Founded by industry veterans from companies such as: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, they are hoping it might replace smartphones as well as improve vision. They include sensors ranging from custom wireless radios to motion sensors for eye tracking and image stabilization.
What are some features of smart contact lenses?
They can do anything a smart phone can do. According to Wired.com, if you’re looking straight ahead while wearing the lens, you won’t see anything visually disrupting but if you look to a corner in any direction, you’ll see icons ranging from a calendar, weather, notifications, music playback, and more. Stare at the arrow next to these icons to expand them even further to see more details—like a three-day forecast, for example—or all your calendar events for the day. There is also an app called Speech which allows you to pull up text and may replace notes and teleprompters. Your references are right there in front of your eyes and the only person who can see them is you.
What are the benefits of smart contact lenses?
Make you Smarter
Smart contacts can make you smarter- truly. If you’re bad with names, especially in business scenarios it can be embarrassing. You know you’ve met the person approaching you somewhere but can’t for the life of you remember their name. With smart contacts you won’t have too. Some offer a feature that can tell you the name of the person approaching you. It shows up like a message on a computer screen.
If you’re one of those people who never seems to find time to go to the doctor, the information provided by the health diagnostics feature may alert you to possible health warnings earlier. Smart lenses can carry a wireless chip and miniaturized sensor for monitoring physiological parameters such as the glucose levels in the tears of a diabetic patient or intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients. For those who are pre-diabetic it may mean the difference between developing the disease. If for instance, your blood sugar marker is constantly high it might send as a warning to adjust your diet. If it continues to be high then you can visit your doctor for a blood test, armed with this information. Since diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of vision loss, and high blood sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes, prevention of the disease is key to good vision and overall health.
After all, isn’t that what contact lenses are for? It appears as though smart contact lens applications may be able to treat common eye conditions better than any conventional lens ever has. A smart lens from researchers at the University of Wisconsin is being developed to treat farsightedness by mimicking the retina of the elephant nose fish which can see in murky and dark places that autofocusses within milliseconds! Smart lenses may be used for those with vision impairment that glasses can’t fix.
Smart lenses in development have an image sensor that enables people to see in almost pitch darkness helping to distinguish images by increasing the contrast, highlighting edges, and magnifying objects. This will help visually impaired users navigate their surroundings a lot easier. It is almost like having night vision. One of the applications for the lenses may be for soldiers to help them see in the dark using thermal images and replace night vision googles which can fall off or be removed. The US military is currently funding a project for smart lenses for this purpose.
What are the risks of smart contact lenses?
The producers of Mojo Vision, which may be the first smart brought to market say one of the reasons for the invention was to get people off their screens and to be aware of what’s going on around them. We all know the risks of blue light exposure from screens in terms of vison loss, so having constant light exposure and screen exposure that close to the retina might be an issue. The founder maintains, “it’s just light on your retina, just like light on your retina right now. The safety implications of this are something that we obviously paid a lot of attention to, but it’s a very safe product.” Knowing what kind of light your retina is being exposed to may determine if the lenses are safe long-term, but until studies are performed on wearers of the lenses, we won’t know for sure what the ramifications are, if any.
When will smart contact lenses be available?
If you don’t suffer from low vision, it could take a while. While different lenses are in development, in the US Mojo Vision has earned the right to fast track the product through development but it will still have to meet FDA approval and if it takes a few years to get clearance on a device that works for the visually impaired, it will likely take a few more to make a smart contact lens for everyone else. Many others such as Samsung are also rushing to be first to market so who knows.
Until then, you may just need to wear regular contacts which will still improve your sight! Today’s contacts have come a long way and are more comfortable than ever. To learn more about contacts visit the post: Clearing up the Confusion about Contact Lenses.