Scientists unveiled a telescopic contact lens that zoom in and out with right and left winks.
Images credit Eric Tremblay and Joe Ford/EPFL
Researchers from Swiss technical university Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, created a prototype telescopic contact lenses and also developed the technology to control them by winking.
The first iteration of the telescopic contact lens–which magnifies 2.8 times–was announced in 2013. Since then the scientists behind the DARPA-funded project have been fine-tuning the lens membranes and developing accessories to make the eyewear smarter and more comfortable for longer periods of time, and thus more usable in every day life.
The contacts that are giving hope for better, stronger vision for millions of people, work by incorporating a very thin reflective telescope inside a 1.55mm thick lens. Small mirrors within bounce light around, expanding the perceived size of objects and magnifying the view, so it’s like looking through low magnification binoculars.
Tremblay, an EPFL researcher whose collaborators include Joe Ford at the University of California, San Diego, said:
“We think these lenses hold a lot of promise for low vision and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It’s very important and hard to strike a balance between function and the social costs of wearing any kind of bulky visual device. There is a strong need for something more integrated, and a contact lens is an attractive direction. At this point this is still research, but we are hopeful it will eventually become a real option for people with AMD.”