Getting information as fast as possible and on the spot is the trend. So what could be more direct than having information fired directly into the eye?

Today - together with his students - Babak A. Parviz, bionanotechnology expert at University of Washington, is already producing devices that have a lens with one wirelessly Radio Frequency powered LED. To turn such a lens into a functional browser, control circuits, communication circuits and miniature antennas will have to be integrated.

These lenses will eventually include hundreds of semitransparent LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye: words, charts, imagery enabling the wearers to navigate their surroundings without distraction or disorientation. The optoelectronics in the lens may be controlled by a separate device that relays information to the lens's control circuit.

Another use could be the monitoring of the wearer's health and biomarkers f.e. cholesterol, sodium, kalium or glucose.

A few barriers have yet to be taken in order to produce such a device. Materials are not compatible with one another; all components have to be assembled onto about 1.5 square centimeters of flexible, transparent polymer; and of course the lens needs to be completely safe for the eye. Parviz mentions that the LED for example is made of aluminum gallium arsenide, a toxic material that should first have to be encapsulated in a biocompatible polymer.

Last but not least: seeing the LED-light switching on and off is one thing, but seeing something comprehensible in dense resolution to the eye is something else.

"The true promise of this research is not just the actual system we end up making, whether it’s a display, a biosensor, or both. We already see a future in which the humble contact lens becomes a real platform, like the iPhone is today, with lots of developers contributing their ideas and inventions."

Contact lenses have always been about improving natural sight, so whatever information they may bring to our eyes in the coming future... may the view be clear.


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  • if i had an idea about what i thought to be a different way to go regarding augmented cognition in altered states of conscience inducing a superlearning trend...who who be the most empowed audience, to whom i could protectively discuss it's forward momentum..

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  • too much surface area is being wasted. should stack solar interlaced with battery layers, and antenna parts together in the place the antenna is currently using. solar being on the outside. Power conversion and control circuits (both) combined and multiple bio-sensor modules for increased signal-to-noise ratio and redundancy. Maybe look at OLED instead of LED. less toxic, and light emitting.

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  • @ Sarah. Please notice these augmented contact lenses where posted in the 'Nature becomes Culture' category which revolves around peoples efforts to cultivate and control old nature. You are right that everything in this category is not next nature as such: it is culture, not nature. We merely blog in this category to contrast the other category: 'Culture becomes nature', which revolves around the notion that with our human culture we cause the rising of a next nature, that may be just as wild and unpredictable as ever. - When we started this blog we decided that, in order to get the bigger picture, it would be best to feature both developments. Arguably, the next nature debate is about this entire picture, however, if you are a purist I agree with you that examples of next nature can only be found in the 'culture becomes nature' category.

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  • Initially the idea of augmented contact lenses appears clever and innovative.... but is it really? Yes, I suppose it is but to detrimental effects of what intuition and gut natural instinct stand for. What is this type of next nature coming to when the nature of technology can be used as a force of evil, for instance what if augmented contacts were used by the army to create greater communication but for the purpose of greater destruction upon human life. I say it is just like Frankensteins creation of a monster. Next nature represents man made technology not mother nature as we know it.

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