Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bionic lenses

SUPERHUMAN eyesight has come a step closer to reality, after engineers successfully built the first contact lenses equipped with microscopic built-in electronics.

The prototype lenses, revealed by Washington University scientists, should enable wearers to see visual displays projected into the world in front of them.

Professor Babak Parviz, one of the developers, says the displays could have many uses: drivers or pilots could see their vehicles’ speed projected on the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion.

And for communications, people on the go could surf the internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see.

A fully functioning lens is some years off, cautions Parviz, but already laboratory tests have shown that the electric lenses can be worn without serious irritation, he told the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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