Talking Contact Lenses

Ruben Baart
August 22nd 2016

Imagine your devices talking to each other. What would the conversation be about? Would they talk about your health? Or would they gossip about your new shoes? The first option is possible, as researchers at University of Washington have introduced a new wireless communication method that allows small wearable devices to ‘talk’ to everyday gadgets.

The team of electrical engineers and computer scientists based their technology on the backscatter technique, which allows devices to exchange information simply by reflecting existing signals. Their so-called ‘interscatter communication’ works by converting Bluetooth signals into Wi-Fi transmissions. An important feature of the system is that it uses less power than conventional methods, as the system solely relies on existing signals from mobile devices.

This method enables embedded devices, such as smart contact lenses, to communicate while consuming a little amount of power, allowing the lenses to operate body tracking and send real-time data to a smartphone. “Wireless connectivity for implanted devices can transform how we manage chronic diseases [...] For example, a contact lens could monitor a diabetic’s blood sugar level in tears and send notifications to the phone when the blood sugar level goes down” says UW electrical engineering doctoral student Vikram Iyer.

Google revealed a similar prototype in 2014 and patented an intra-ocular device earlier this year. Make sure not to miss our self-diagnosis lens, designed by Chloé Rutzerveld for the NANO Supermarket.

Source: University of Washington

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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