University of Washington researchers have just managed to embed LED’s and an electronic circuit board into contact lenses. Quite an acheivement given the size of the components involved and the need to marry inflexible metallic elements with the flexible organic matter of the lense. The circuits were built from layers of metal which were only a few
nanometers thick (about one thousandth the width of a human hair), and in such a way that they
do not obstruct the wearer’s vision.
Although not yet a fully functional prototype, it is a significant step towards making direct video-to-eye applications possible. The researchers believe that it can be developed to carry wireless
communication capabilities and be powered by tiny solar cells placed on
the lens meaning that the technique could have multiple applications. Imagine your very own head-up display that gave you information about your environment as you moved through it. Imagine being completely immersed in a virtual world game without any restriction on movement. Imagine being able to view the internet without the need for a separate screen.
A lot of speculation on the future of media focuses on the ubiquity of screen media – on PC’s, mobile devices, even whole walls – media which remains detached from the individual. But what about the screen that you wear?
Hat tip to