A contact lens with an embedded electronic circuit and lights has been created by engineers at the University of Washington. Such a lens could lead to wearable information displays or communication aids, like the kind the Terminator had: a computer read-out superimposed on his vision.

Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside, says researcher Babak Parviz, Ph.D., M.S., assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington.

Possible applications of such a lens include video game play, Internet usage or information display.

The prototype lenses were tested on rabbits in 20-minute wear intervals. The animals demonstrated no adverse effect or reaction to lens wear. Our goal is to demonstrate the basic technology and make sure it works and that its safe, Dr. Parviz says.

Complex instrumentation can be placed at the edge of the lens, where it will obstruct vn as little as possible. Also, researchers intend to incorporate wireless communication capabilities and power the circuit with the addition of a small solar cell on the lens itself.

The prototype lenses that were tested on rabbits are not corrective, and the embedded circuit and lights dont function, but researchers say the device could be replicated using a prescription contact lens. And, a lens with a working basic display could be ready for testing soon.

Vol. No: 145:02Issue: 2/15/2008