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Contact Lenses With Thermal Vision May Soon Be Available

Finally, corrective lenses that correct the fact I'm not the Predator.

riddick1

If you love the freedom that contacts provide but wish the lenses could do more to enhance your night-hunting, a breakthrough at the University of Michigan may make thermal-seeking contacts a reality. I’ll never miss prey in my peripheral again.

In news that is sure to rock the vampiric community, Phys.org is reporting today that in a recent Nature Nanotechnology paper, professors Zhaohui Zhong and Gerard A. Mourou announced the first room-temperature light detector that can be “stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone”.

Prior to the duo’s discovery, heat-seeking vision required a combination of cumbersome technologies in order to detect near, mid and far infrared radiation all at once. Graphene– a single layer of carbon atoms– catches the entire spectrum, but is too small to capture more than 2.3% of all light.

Explains Zhong, “The challenge for the current generation of graphene-based detectors is that their sensitivity is typically very poor. It’s a hundred to a thousand times lower than what a commercial device would require.”

Thankfully for those of us who need superior night vision (not you, Google Glass wearers)  Zhong and Mourou have found an alternative way of creating an electrical signal, transferring the existing charge in graphene to a nearby current and transforming the miniscule layer of carbon into an effective sensor.

Compact heat-based technology has huge implications for ease and range of use. Zhong elaborates, “If we integrate it with a contact lens or other wearable electronics, it expands your vision. It provides you another way of interacting with your environment.”

Although obviously graphene contacts will provide an inconspicuous way of hunting for prey in darkest night, Phys.org points out that the team’s discovery will have other (less interesting) uses, such as  monitoring blood flow and enabling art restoration.

Oh, I’ll monitor blood flow alright– blood flow from my hapless prey. Beware, mice of my apartment. I am the night.

(Phys.org via Gizmodo, image via Riddick)

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