In a move that seems to be bringing us closer and closer to the inevitable cyborg-dom, researchers at Gent University’s Centre of Microsystems Technology (CMST) have created a curved LCD that can be embedded in contact lenses. In other words, you can get text messages directly to your contact lenses.
Unlike other contact lens displays that use light-emitting diodes (LED) and can only display a small number of pixels, the researchers have made use of the entire surface of the lens, so that a single word or character can be shown. It could be really useful, but I think that it would be really expensive… like in the $ 1000 – $ 5000 range.
“Now that we have established the basic technology, we can start working towards real applications, possibly available in only a few years,” said Professor Herbert De Smet.
“This will never replace the cinema screen for films. But for specific applications it may be interesting to show images such as road directions or projecting text messages from our smart phones straight to our eye.”
The innovation is the first step towards “fully pixellated contact lens displays” with the same detail as a television screen.The lenses could also be used for medical purposes, for example to control the light transmission toward the eye’s retina in case of a damaged iris. For cosmetic purposes, the lens could be used the iris of the eye a tunable colour, allowing the user to change it to suit their mood.
Until you could actually send text messages from the lens, though, you’d still have to get out your phone. But maps? Maps would be really useful.