Telescopic Contact Lenses

Imagine contact lenses that can switch your field of vision from normal to telescopic sight. Does that sound creepy? Yes it does, on the surface. But the point is not to enable spying; it’s to correct bad vision. Telescopic contact have been developed by EPFL in Switzerland, and unveiled at the AAAS Annual Meeting earlier this month.

The technology involves a bit more than just the contacts. The system is based on the interaction between a pair of normal-looking eyeglasses and the weird lenses above, which are embedded with what are really just a pair of supertiny aluminum telescopes. The contacts are still only about 1.5 millimeters thick, and feature 1 mm-wide channels or pores that allow the required breathability-maintaining airflow. This last part proved to be one of the biggest challenges, requiring years of experimentation.

So far, the contacts need to be used with glasses, as the glasses hold the method of changing light polarity to turn the telescopic view of the lenses. You control that by winking. The next step is to make them controllable without the glasses. I think I’ll just stick with my bifocals for now. -via Digg

(Image credit: EPFL)


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