|An illustration from the paper that shows the setup used to control the soft lens.|
Can't see from the cheap seats in the cinema or at the ball game? No problem, just use the zoom in your contact lenses to get a better view of the action! Unfortunately we're not quite there yet, but zoomable contact lenses could be available in the not too distant future based on a paper recently published in the Advanced Functional Materials journal titled ‘A Biomimetic Soft Lens Controlled by Electrooculographic Signal.’
As detailed in the paper, scientists at the University of California San Diego have designed and built a prototype of a contact lens that is controlled by eye motion. You blink twice to either zoom in or out. The stretchy polymer film the lenses are made of reacts to the electric signals generated by the movement of the user's eyes and contracts accordingly to adjust the magnification of the lens.
These signals are known as electrooculographic signals and can be generated even during sleep. ‘Even if your eye cannot see anything, many people can still move their eyeball and generate this electro-oculographic signal,’ said lead researcher Shengqiang Cai talking to New Scientist.
|A diagram from the paper detailing how the lens contracts and expands depending on the electrooculographic signals applied to it.|