A group of smarties in Switzerland have managed to develop a contact lens that zooms with a wink.
There’s movement in the world of contact lenses. While progress has already been made on a pair of lenses for diabetics that monitor glucose levels, and our wizened overlords at Google are working on a set with an in-built camera, a group of Swiss researchers have bested them all, as they’re on their way to inventing a pair that zoom with a wink.
Per the press release around the advancement, “the visual aids, which are still in the prototype stage, could be useful for those with visual impairment, which affects some 285 million people worldwide. In particular, they might one day help people with a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause visual impairment in adults over the age of 50. AMD is a progressive disease in which people gradually loss their central vision due to cell damage and death in the retina. Although there are glasses in existence to help those with this condition, known as bioptic telescopes, they’re bulky and can interfere with social interaction. This new system, however, is designed to be much less intrusive.”
Apparently, the tech can differentiate between a wink and blink.
Here’s how they work. The lenses are thicker than your average lens, covering the whites of your eyes. Within the lens is a tiny ring of aluminium mirrors that bounce light around, increasing the size of objects up to a magnification of 2.8. To switch between zoomed and normal view, all the user has to do is wink their right eye which interrupts the light being reflected from the contacts to the glasses, according to Science. When this signal is blocked, a polarised filter in the glasses kicks in which guides light towards the telescopic part, New Scientist explains.
Disappointing, the tech is yet to be strapped to a human eyeball, so we’re not entirely sure how effective the system is.