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Context Lenses

By on December 13th, 2012

A little off-topic here (surprise!) but these things fascinate me.

Anyone unfortunate enough to have stayed awake through any of the presentations I made in the latter portion of the 2000s knows how fond I am of author/futurist Vernor Vinge and his 2007 novel Rainbows End, set in 2025. It describes what I think is the next major evolution of computing—and especially mobile computing (which barely existed in 2007, pre-iPhone): wearable processors and contact lens-based displays. Dr. Joe and I also included a bit about this in the Afterword to our classic book Disrupting the Future.

A year ago, researchers demonstrated that they were able display one-pixel images on a contact lens and into the eyes of rabbits, and now other scientists are demonstrating how contact lenses can be used for text messaging.

The spherical curved LCD display, created by Belgium researchers at Ghent University, handle projected images using wireless technology.

The lens’ capability were demonstrated by scientists who showed a dollar sign being projected on to the lens. It is a step towards ‘fully pixelated contact lens displays’ with the same detail as a TV screen which could completely transform the way we communicate.

Naturally there are issues that involve how the eye focuses and tracks, but I assume they have taken this into account—and let’s hope no one tries driving while wearing and texting using these things. But it is an interesting direction for display technology.