Scientists working at Washington University say that the early tests for the device show that it is both safe and feasible. But there are still a few kinks to be worked out, like locating a potent power source. Presently, their early prototype can only function if it is within centimeters of its wireless battery.
And its microcircuits are only powerful enough to produce one light-emitting diode, according to the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. But now, since the first safety tests (conducted on rabbits) have gone well and produced no visible, adverse side effects, researchers have more confidence in the project than ever before.
But they aren’t limited to just nifty tricks; they could also be used to provide up-to-date medical information like heart rate, blood sugar, etc. by connecting to biosensors in the wearer’s body. Dr. Babak Parviz, lead scientist on the project comments: “Our next goal is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens.”
Dr. Parviz said his team had already managed to leap over an extremely difficult hurdle in the project – getting the human eye to focus on an image that’s been generated on its surface. Under normal circumstances, we can only focus on objects clearly if they are at least several centimeters away from our eyes. The research team, who has been collaborating with peers at Aalto University in Finland, has now reconfigured the lenses to shorten the focal distance.
Completing the end product was especially difficult since the materials used in the construction of regular contact lenses are pretty sensitive. Building electrical circuits involves some heavy-duty processes; extremely high temperatures and toxic chemicals are just two of the imminent dangers. Researchers constructed the circuits from layers of metal that was only a few nanometers thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and built light-emitting diodes that are about a third of a millimeter across.
Dr. Parviz and his research team aren’t the only scientists to jump on this innovative, new technology.
BBC Photo by : IOPscience