New research sheds light on the safety and requirements of bionic contact lenses, or wirelessly powered contact lenses that display information. Researchers from the University of Washington and Aalto University in Finland tested a prototype device in the eyes of rabbits.
There were no observed adverse effects on the rabbits, and the researchers attest the device could be worn by people. Currently the prototype only generates one pixel of information, but they predict that years from now the device could display short emails and other messages in front of the wearer’s eyes.
The researchers built the bionic lenses with light-emitting diodes (LED) and metal circuits about one-thousandth the size of a human hair. An external source transmitted power to an antenna built into the device. The energy then transferred to a transparent sapphire chip with a single blue LED.
Although the wireless transmission was successful, the prototype had to be centimeters away from the power source. The researchers cited the wireless connection as a challenge, as well as having all components fit into the volume of a contact lens.
In a paper published in the Nov. 22 journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, the researchers stated that successfully deployment could “fundamentally change the nature of interaction between humans and visual information.”
Tags: bionic contact lenses