Science 2 min read

Scientists Create Contact Lenses That Zoom In the Blink of an Eye

Scientists harnessed the electrooculographic signals produced by our eyes to create contact lenses that can be zoomed in and out just by blinking.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Image Credit: Pixabay

Using contact lenses that can zoom in and out on command sounds a bit far-fetched – like tech from a James Bond movie.

But, the scientists at the University of California San Diego have managed to pull it off. They invented a pair of contact lenses that users can control through eye movements. Oh, yes, it zooms in when you blink twice.

So, how do these contact lenses work?

To invent this futuristic tech, the researchers measured the electrooculographic (EOG) signals that the eyes generate when it makes specific movements. These include left and right, up and down, as well as blink and double blink.

Thanks to the vast data collected, the scientists created a soft lens with a natural design layout. Aside from responding to the electrical impulses that come with these movements, the lens can also change its focal length based on the signal.

In other words, the lens could zoom in the blink of an eye – or double blink, as the case may be.

The researchers wrote in their publication in the journal, Advanced Functional Materials:

“In this study, we developed a human-machine interface (HMI) between human eyes and a soft biomimetic lens, which was mainly composed of electroactive polymer films. The change of the focal length and the motion of the soft lens closely resembled those of human eyes, which were achieved by the electrical potential-induced actuation of dielectric elastomer (DE) films.”

Eye Movement-Based Contact Lenses

While you may need to place the tech on your eyeballs to use it, the focal length of the lens doesn’t change based on sight. In fact, users don’t need a perfect vision – or any for that matter – to change its focal point.

That’s because the invention works based on electricity from specific eye movement. In other words, a visually impaired user can still blink twice to zoom, even though such a person wouldn’t see the change in focus.

Past studies have used EOG signals to control wheelchairs and other robots. However, the contact lens is the first proof-of-concept to use the signals on soft machines.

So, why did the researchers create it?

According to the researchers, this innovation could serve as a groundwork for more advanced technologies. These include adjustable glasses, visual prostheses, and even remotely operated robots.

Read More: The Future of AR: Video Recording Contact Lenses

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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