A U.S.-Finnish team has announced that they have successfully completed trials of a remotely operated heads-up display fitted against the eye in the form of a contact lens. Though the test used a rabbit and the lense contained only one pixel, it’s a bold step forward that may someday realize the dream of being able to see like a Terminator. And really, what else could we hope for?
In the trial, researchers led by Babak Praviz of the University of Washington used 5 mm long antenna printed directly on the lens, which could receive signals from a transmitter some 10cm from the rabbits eye. It works thanks to a super small LED embedded on a transparent sapphire chip. In order to lower the focal length required to display images directly on the surface of the eye, it uses the same layering as a Fresnel lens.
The researcher’s work has been published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.
Powered remotely, the team proved that the chip could receive transmissions while on the rabbit’s eye. Interestingly, the team observed that the natural fluids present in the eye affected the transmission, which will be valuable information when designing future versions of the lenses. Though the tests were performed under general anesthetic, the researchers found no signs of damage to the rabbits’ eyes and one presumes that they lived to hop happily another day.
The team believes that their test will pave the way for more advanced multi-pixel experiments and, hopefully, use in humans. Being able to display information directly to the user could have many applications in consumer electronics — imagine being able to play Angry Birds or iOS Minecraft without anyone being the wiser! However, there could be numerous military, navigational, and medical applications as well.
Though live animal trials is a valuable milestone, it’s still a long way away from sizing up a human to steal his clothes because you’re a time traveling robot. But when it comes to integrating digital information to the real world, AR and HUD technology is seen as a holy grail. This research could be the first step toward a completely different way of looking at the world.
- Subtitle glasses — you know, for movies!
- Heads up display — you know, for driving!
- Giant humanoid robot — you know, for…um…
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