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Smart contact lenses with 2.8x zoom

jacobsschool.ucsd.edu

It has been presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which has just concluded in San José (California), a telescope contact lens prototype that can improve the view to the 280 million people who suffer, in worldwide, eye problems, including macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that causes the loss of vision in the center of the visual field. Patients usually can not read or recognize faces.

The device developed by the engineers of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne used to go from a wide angle to a closer with a simple blink. Obviously, these contact lenses -whose project began in 2008 with funding from the Darpa– work in conjunction with smart glass that can recognize (and ignore) the beat of the eyelids of the wearer to switch from normal vision to a closer.

Normal vision and Magnified view

As Eric Tremblay,  coordinator of the research, explains,:

We think that these contact lenses are extremely promising for those with vision problems and age related macular degeneration. There was a strong need to create a device more integrated and socially less invasive: contact lenses are just what the bill perfectly. For now we are still at the level of basic research, but we hope they will soon become a real possibility for those suffering from macular degeneration.

Scientists explain that the device is constituted by thin reflective lens and a set of tiny mirrors, which deflect the light expanding the perceived size of the objects and allowing to zoom up to 2.8 times compared to the normal vision.

The most complex part of the creation of lenses able to zoom up to 2.8x has been to allow the eye to receive the right amount of oxygen. To achieve this, researchers have incorporated into the lens small channels for the air with a diameter of one tenth of a millimeter.

Wearing the smart glass combined with lenses, patients are able to pass, in real time and simply slamming eyelids, from normal vision to the magnified view.

Gallery credits: jacobsschool.ucsd.edu

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