New research from the School of Nano-Bioscience and Chemical Engineering at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (Korea) has put us one step closer to Mission Impossible-style contact lenses that can display images in front of our eyes, much like Google Glass.
Rigid contact lenses with electronic capabilities have been made over the past few years, but this is the first time anyone has produced an electronic soft contact lens. The key to this discovery was a transparent, stretchy and highly conductive nanomaterial made of graphene and silver nanowires.
After the nanomaterial was applied to a standard soft contact lens, the research team fit the lens with a small LED light, which was sufficiently powered. The lens and its new material was then tested on a group of rabbits, resulting in zero signs of discomfort or irritation after five hours of wear.
While the technology is still in its infancy, this new development could lead to soft contact lenses with computer functions. “Our goal is to make a wearable contact-lens display that can do all the things Google Glass can do,” says lead researcher Professor Jang-Ung Park.