Contact lenses developed by a company called Innovega, delivering full HD, full 3D, full panoramic images equivalent to a 240-inch TV viewed from a ten feet away — with augmented reality, to boot — could be a real reality by 2014, according to this piece from InnovationNewsDaily:
“Over the past months, we have demonstrated contact lens-enabled eyewear for mobile devices, including smartphones, portable game devices and media players that deliver panoramic, high-resolution experiences for entertainment and planned augmented reality applications,” Willey said.
The new system consists of advanced contact lenses working in conjunction with lightweight eyewear. Normally, the human eye is limited in its ability to focus on objects placed very near it. The contact lenses contain optics that focus images displayed on the eyewear onto the light-sensing retina in the back of the eye, allowing the wearer to see them properly.
The story discusses entertainment possibilities, but focuses heavily on the military applications:
“Think of individuals who pilot drones, the ones that fly or the ones for bomb disposal,” Willey added. “Or think of medics, who can get information very quickly from the soldier and from headquarters and relay it back. Or think of soldiers who need a display who have a gun in their hands and can’t have something obstructing their vision for safety and mobility issues, but need access to incredibly rich data such as maps that require full color and detail.”
And if you get the heebie jeebies thinking about sticking a full HD display in your eye, consider this:
In addition to contact lenses, Innovega’s patents also cover lenses implanted within the eye. “There are 900,000 cataract operations a year that replace some portion of the lens,” Willey said. “You can imagine giving them a lens that not only helps with real-world vision, but also virtual reality, or access to the Internet.”
Honestly, I can’t be bothered to even put on 3D glasses for a movie. And I’m guessing most of you feel the same. But if you don’t think hardcore gamers would poke their eyes or even suffer through surgery to get an edge on their Call of Duty competition, you’re nuts. That’s assuming, of course, that the FDA approves it.