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Displays Graphics

Where Are Your Contact Lens Displays? 152

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we'll-use-them-as-huds-in-our-flying-cars dept.
destinyland writes "'We already see a future in which the humble contact lens becomes a real platform, like the iPhone is today,' argues researcher Babak Parvis, 'with lots of developers contributing their ideas and inventions.' He provides an update on the contact lens with transparent circuitry that's being developed at the University of Washington. (Its components will eventually include hundreds of LEDs which form images in front of the eye such as charts and photographs). They've already developed a lens-with-LED prototype that's powered by 330 microwatts of wireless radio-frequency power, and believe the lenses could also be used as biosensors to deliver body chemistry readings (including blood sugar levels). But 'What we've done so far barely hints at what will soon be possible with this technology,' says Dr. Parviz."
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Where Are Your Contact Lens Displays?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:55AM (#30225332) Journal

    Where Are Your Contact Lens Displays?

    Oh, that's right, I left them out in the garage in my flying car. You see, I was running Duke Nukem Forever in Hurd but the battery ran out of power so I set them aside to bring in and recharge at my tabletop cold fusion station. It's okay though, I'll have forever to enjoy them now that Ray Kurzweil's Singularity has happened.

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:12AM (#30225476)

      What an insightful Slashdot comment, attached to this accurate summary of an original, well-written online tech story.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:59AM (#30225950)

      Oh, that's right, I left them out in the garage in my flying car. You see, I was running Duke Nukem Forever in Hurd but the battery ran out of power so I set them aside to bring in and recharge at my tabletop cold fusion station. It's okay though, I'll have forever to enjoy them now that Ray Kurzweil's Singularity has happened.

      If the population grows, the flying car has to happen one day, because the roads just get too congested otherwise. I see pictures of India's streets today and shudder when even 25% can and do own cars. China is already experiencing those problems. It's either that, or a real mass transit system like the Germans have, coupled with a revolutionary short distance personal transportation device, something that the Segway was rumored to be, but just wasn't. A bike would do, though a bit slow, a scooter like the original honda cub isn't bad either, but neither fold up enough to take on most busses, trains. It would also take an attitude adjustment on people's parts. The flying car just isn't reality because neither aerodynamic nor lift principles would be satisfactory for the human limitation involved, and anti-gravity would work, if such a thing existed. I would also suggest computer controlled road cars, but I'm not sure if the liability is worth it, if it's only suitable for highways, because, really, people are overall stupid drivers and technology (phones) is only making it worse so far.

      DNF is just a game and technically feasible, they just were directionless and unhappy with everything they made. Hurd was superceded by Linux, so it's like complaining that an effective gas lamp was never invented when the lightbulb is already here.

      Cold Fusion may be a pipe dream... but I hope they accompany these computer lenses with eyeglass counterparts. I don't like contacts, personally. I can see it happen, but I'd figure the computer power to get anything done would have to be miniaturized so much it'll be at least another 20 years... or that they have a terminal/server configuration where the lens/eyeglass acts as only a display wirelessly connected to a real computer elsewhere, be it on the person himself somewhere or on the internet.

      • by LordAndrewSama (1216602) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:26AM (#30226294)

        If the population grows, the flying car has to happen one day

        is that to facilitate transportation, or to solve the population problem? Because flat roads are beyond the abilities of most of the ass-nuggets behind the wheel already.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I like to imagine that drivers in North America are so horrible because of the hideously low level of skill needed to obtain a driving license along with the relatively affordable fines for things. If there were real mandatory training classes along with harsh punishments for driving unsafely I think that the level of driving would improve a lot. It is unlikely to happen with cars as seen currently but if they were to start a system like that for flying cars when invented they could change the culture of dr
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rolfwind (528248)

            I like to imagine that drivers in North America are so horrible because of the hideously low level of skill needed to obtain a driving license along with the relatively affordable fines for things. If there were real mandatory training classes along with harsh punishments for driving unsafely I think that the level of driving would improve a lot. It is unlikely to happen with cars as seen currently but if they were to start a system like that for flying cars when invented they could change the culture of dr

      • by kindbud (90044)

        It would also take an attitude adjustment on people's parts.

        Yeah, this is the part forecasters of the future always forget to take into account.

      • by evilWurst (96042)

        > If the population grows, the flying car has to happen one day, because the roads just get too congested otherwise.

        I'm not sure that's exactly the right solution, actually. (Mainly, I'm thinking that congestion in 3D is even more complex and dangerous than congestion in our current 1.5D. Both are easy when you're the only one on/in the road/sky, but there are more variables to manage in the sky crowd than on the road crowd). Flying cars are also impractical for energy reasons; if we're already using too

        • If we want to take to the air, we'd need to do it with something more like a flying bus that takes relative large loads of people between a relatively small number of stations.

          What a simPLy brilliANt idEa! You should file A patent If theRe's no PriOR arT.

      • by Burning1 (204959)

        I don't see it happening, if for any other reason than insurance rates are going to skyrocket.

        Look at motorcycle personal injury lawyers. Have you ever noticed how many of them are running ads in the yellow pages and on TV? Payouts are huge, because liability in a motorcycle accident is huge. Large hospital bills and large pain and suffering damages means a lot of money can be made.

        What does this have to do with the flying car?

        Imagine the lawsuit that would result from one flying car driver nicking another,

    • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@g m a i l .com> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:22AM (#30226246)
      Your statements are making me sick to my stomach... I think I'll go to the bathroom and use the three seashells.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Galaphine (216774)

      Slashdot: First Contact:
      Boldly going where no HTML tag has gone before!

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:58AM (#30225360) Homepage Journal

    I got rid of my contacts [slashdot.org] back in 2006 (I'm a cyborg). For nearsightedness they're far better than glasses because you need to see all day long, but for a display they're not the right platform. Put those transparent circutis in a pair of glasses; I can keep them in my pocket for when they're needed.

    You don't see anyone wearing contact sunglasses, now do you? Not even the ones that darken in sunlight and lighten indoors. Contact lens computer displays is a dumb idea.

    • by Scutter (18425) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:07AM (#30225448) Journal

      You don't see anyone wearing contact sunglasses, now do you? Not even the ones that darken in sunlight and lighten indoors.

      No, it's because seeing people with solid black eyes would creep people right the hell out. Didn't you see Event Horizon?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sznupi (719324)

        But imagine the reaction to faint red glow of your eyes...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by danhuby (759002)

        I'm not sure it would be that obvious. Apparently Deanna Troi wore black contacts for all of TNG (as did other betazoids) and I can't say I noticed.

        • by stjobe (78285) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:05AM (#30226016) Homepage

          I'm not sure it would be that obvious. Apparently Deanna Troi wore black contacts for all of TNG (as did other betazoids) and I can't say I noticed.

          "Hey! Up here!"

          Small wonder you missed it...

        • by csartanis (863147)

          Holy crap! I never noticed this. I could've sworn I remembered seeing her irises in my memory, but google images does show black (or very very dark) eyes... I guess they look normal because of her big dark hairstyle.

      • You don't see anyone wearing contact sunglasses, now do you? Not even the ones that darken in sunlight and lighten indoors.

        No, it's because seeing people with solid black eyes would creep people right the hell out. Didn't you see Event Horizon?

        My major complaint about contacts for blocking sun is far to difficult to find the "mirrored shades" variant.

        Solid mirror eyes. Heck, you wouldn't need no flying car to know you're living in the future then.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by mcgrew (92797) *

          That would be possible with current tech, and would be very inexpensive. You can get non-prescription contacts at WalMart optical that give you red pupils and irises, snake-eyes or cat's eyes, etc now for about $30 per pair. I wouldn't be surprised if they did have mirrored ones as well.

      • Apparently, some people like that [bchieap.com].

      • > No, it's because seeing people with solid black eyes would creep people
        > right the hell out.

        No, it's because Apple isn't marketing them yet so they are dorky. iTacts, when they hit the market, will be "cool".

    • by thesandtiger (819476) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:15AM (#30225510)

      Professional athletes wear sun-sensitive contacts, actually. They're about the only people who have a big enough need for that kind of thing and can afford them - they're rather expensive.

      • by ls671 (1122017) *

        I said: I wear my CONTACT sunglasses at night.
        I wear my contact sunglasses at night
        I wear my contact sunglasses at night.
        I said to you now: I wear my contact sunglasses at night

        http://www.anysonglyrics.com/lyrics/c/corey-heart/sunglasses-at-night.htm [anysonglyrics.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        they're rather expensive.

        I can't understand why they would be. I had a pair of the sun-sensitive glasses years ago, and they didn't cost any more than regular glasses.

        BTW, those glasses are NOT GOOD. Like any other muscle, your iris atrophes with disuse and after a year or two, walking outside with the sun sensitive glasses is no different than walking outside with regular glasses for someone who hasn't worn the sun-sensitive ones. And if you walk outside without them it's REALLY bright.

        If you wear glasses,

        • They're expensive because they can be, I guess - and the market is limited. As was said by someone else, most people don't want to walk around with freaky solid black eyes, and for most people the added expense just isn't worth it - no real performance gain for them.

          I've got the transitions lenses in my regular glasses, and actually, the change is gradual enough that my eyes still get a workout from sudden changes (inside to outside). It really doesn't seem to be mechanically different from putting on sungl

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

          In a similar vein, I take the opposite view of corrective lenses ; I actually wear glasses that are the inverse of those an optician would prescribe. I noticed that my distance vision gets worse when I read screens and paper for long hours, so reasoning that this was the source of the problem I bought a pair of cheap pharmacy +1.0 reading glasses to wear while I work. This moves the apparent focal point of my screens further away and results in less deterioration of my distance vision.

          The optician wanted to

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ThreeGigs (239452)

      Aside from the inconvenience, I haven't seen the health issues addressed. Mainly, what happens to the human eye when it's not only insulated by a contact lens, but also heated by the 330 microwatts needed to power these things?

    • by Necron69 (35644)

      I'll second that. I wore contacts when I was younger, but since then have developed Sjogren's Syndrome and have severely dry eyes. Contact lenses are an absolute impossibility for me (and millions of others). A display in a pair of eyeglasses is obviously much more useful and less intrusive.

      Necron69

  • by Nautical Insanity (1190003) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:00AM (#30225380)

    I don't know...I seem to have misplaced them. Shit, I'm blind without my visual overlay.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:02AM (#30225402) Journal
    Let us make some Laser emitting diodes and put them behind the eyelids so that they cant even avoid it by closing their eye lids. Wow! You are en evil genius Dr Parviz.
    • and we will add to that Apple's "forced Advertising" to bring joy to all vendors.

    • by Scutter (18425)

      Let us make some Laser emitting diodes and put them behind the eyelids so that they cant even avoid it by closing their eye lids. Wow! You are en evil genius Dr Parviz.

      I promise you that they will be ad-supported as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mschirmer (1619591)

      Could you imagine the possibilities? *wink wink* .. You've bored at work, so you close your eyes and voila, a peep show all to yourself! No need to leave the office!

      Wait... I'll be back. I have to go pull my mind out of the gutter.

    • Even better, make those lenses so that they emit faint red light "outwards", scaring the crap out of most people that will look into your eyes.

      (might be already doable, with "phosphor" & low intensity radiation source, like in Russian watches...not sure about the shielding and the risk of cataract though ;/ )

    • If you mounted a nice little fibre-optic receivers on your clothing you could even see behind you or in various direction with your eyes open or closed.

  • by Rhaban (987410)

    If I displayed a fullscreen hi-res photo of someone's eye on such a lens, would it pass retina scan?

  • Focus? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:15AM (#30225518)

    It strikes me that the real trick isn't putting a display on the lens of the eye, but getting a focussed image. I mean, you could write a crisp, clear letter on someone's eyeball right now, but they wouldn't be able to see it. It'd just be a smudge on their vision. That still leaves you open to using a flash of colour in different directions to attract the wearer's attention to hazards, or other blurry ways of presenting information, mind you. I think the real key will be putting MEMS-directed lasers in there which can draw on the retina, bypassing focussing entirely.

    • by lawpoop (604919)
      If you could precisely focus an image on the retina, couldn't you precisely focus an image on the lens so that it would appear 'correctly' to the lens-wearer? In other words, not a perfect focus, but whatever distortions or adjustments one needed to introduce to make it seem right to the viewer?
    • by Shrike82 (1471633)

      I think the real key will be putting MEMS-directed lasers in there which can draw on the retina, bypassing focussing entirely.

      "Yes officer, I know I just ran over and killed seven children. I was blinded by the lasers in my contact lenses you see..."

    • Re:Focus? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Last_Available_Usern (756093) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:14AM (#30226124)
      Let me just make sure I read this right...you want to shoot lasers directly onto my retina?
    • I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering about this [slashdot.org]
    • Yeah, I don't understand why that guy gets that level of publicity, his claims don't even pass simple sanity checks.

      All they actually managed to do so far is put some simple circuitry inside a contact lens. They aren't anywhere close to being able to do displays, in fact it is extremely unlikely that they ever will. First, there is the focus problem that others have already mentioned. Second, or visual system sees by scanning over (i.e. moving the eye ball relative to) the scene. If the scene (display) move

  • Wake me up when any of these concepts move to market (and at a price point I can afford).
    • by timeOday (582209)

      Wake me up when any of these concepts move to market (and at a price point I can afford).

      You don't need slashdot for that, just visit the electronics aisle at Wal-Mart a couple times a year if that's what meets your level of interest.

  • Is there a study or research done on the health aspects? I would imagine putting powered circuitry into your eyes is a recipe for disaster. Something that is deemed as safe as todays contact lenses would be the only thing I would ever even want to try.

    Also... optically speaking would you be able to read text that is effectively right against your eye? Can we focus clearly that closely?

  • This is the marketing wet dream, forced ads right on the surface of your eyes.

    • Not as bad as two-way computer-brain communication. If you have popup ads in your field of vision it's annoying, but if it works as an extra sense you probably can't distinguish advertising from your own opinions. Kinda like politics works now.
  • Someone is driving on the freeway at night going 75 wearing the smart contacts. As a van is passed on a curve all the LEDs in the contacts light up fully. "Single car crash", states the report, "must have fallen asleep".

    • They probably wouldn't be bright enough to obscure your vision. For driving, I imagine that it would be useful to have things like your GPS data on a HUD so you could see where you were meant to turn without having to glance down at the dashboard. There have been cars made with HUDs for a few year, but they're very expensive.
  • The Blue (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:23AM (#30225606) Journal

    The Blue Cataract of Death.

  • I'm really excited about the future of augmented reality and augmented senses. I'd love to see enhancements for all our senses. The visual possibilities are obvious (facial recognition, distance calculation, displaying overlay information about whatever you're looking at), but the other senses are equally exciting:

    Hearing: Augment my hearing so that when I'm in the dark I can have a sonar type display projected onto my eyes. Night vision is cool, but it still requires some light, and can be baffled by smoke

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      It's amazing what they have now [slashdot.org]. My left eye's natural lens (not the cornea, the one behind the iris) was replaced with an artificial lens that sits on struts, allowing it to focus. before the operation I wore contacts for my extreme nearsightedness, plus reading glasses for my age-related farsightedness (yes, you can be both nearsighted and farsighted at the same time; that's what they make bifocal glasses for). The vision in that eye is now BETTER thah 20/20 at all distances. I see better than most twenty

      • No doubt - my father, who is in his late 80's - recently had a lens replaced and a couple of other procedures, and he no longer needs glasses (after 60+ years of needing them for everything). I've been considering going under the knife, but I want to wait until not only will I have at least average vision, but a good shot at having better than 20/20 as well. Right now, for my kinds of problems, that's not there (astigmatism & strain)

  • We've had this discussion before [slashdot.org]. I'll bring up the same point as I did last time: Contact lens displays are going to be limited by the power requirements. The solution they have in this article is equivalent to pressing a cellphone antenna up to your eyeball. It's not going to be healthy; a lot of people would go blind at that level of radiation.

    My advice is to wait for the full computer-brain interface.

  • by AP31R0N (723649) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:41AM (#30225760)

    These will definitely help me find Sarah Connor.

  • When I mentioned the idea of contact-lens displays in a comment [slashdot.org] one year ago, I referred to them as "the magical world of tomorrow." I guess the future is coming sooner than I thought.
  • Yes thanks for that - obviously we here at Slashdot are clueless about what a platform is, without a reference to a pop culture reference. (Though I do wonder why you don't at least make a comparison to a more mainstream brand of phones, instead of one that's just a few per cent of the market.)

    No, it couldn't possibly be an attempt to make a story more newsworthy with an "On Your Iphone" reference...

  • by foodnugget (663749) <eric-slashdot@NOSPAM.ericfeldman.com> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:55AM (#30225920)
    I don't have contacts, but from what i understand, they center on your cornea and move with your eye, right?

    How would someone "look around" on a screen with contacts? Wouldn't the center of the screen always be what you're looking at, drastically minimizing what you can read and properly make out?
    • by Derosian (943622)
      Probably similarly to how the wii-head sensors work. When you look in a different direction the computer would recognize this and scroll the screen as if it was actually moving.
      • So not only do you have the display, you need a telemetry sensor to detect physical movement of the device? You could do this with a gyro or an accelerometer, but moving your head and not your eye would result in false readings... unless there was another sensor on your head to provide difference data between head movement and eye movement... connected to the system as well... I guess it is conceivable. just sounds like it would be many years off before it were reasonable.
    • Good point.

      Even worse, contacts do not remain at the same spot on the retina. They move about a little bit with each eye-movement and blink. This is ok for a simple lens as long as the actual pupil remains fully covered, but for a screen it would be catastrophic. Imagine your monitor slamming down when you blink, and then slowly work its way back up (which is what a contact does).
  • I'm still waiting for the brave new world where you can roll-up your display into a case the size of a pen [universaldisplay.com]

    The whole "display on a contact lens" is even more vaporware than that.

  • And far as I can tell, the contact lenses, THEY DO NOTHING!
  • Can anyone shed some light on how the optics of a contact-lens display would work? After all, when all is said and done, this is going to be a display that is not simply "close" to your eye, but ON TOP of it, and I don't know about others, but my eyes are unable to focus on anything closer than 5 cm (2") or so.

    There are mirror/lens systems in VR-helmets and those fancy spectacle-like, wearable displays that create a virtual display some distance away from the viewer, but I don't see how that could be repl
  • Don't try to make a contact that does everything you think of. Get some that provide some functionality. An interface for smart phones s a great start.

    Thise has killed a lot of products from the consumer market. For example, VR. Every body wanted to release a fully functional 3d VR with near perfect graphics. This was completly unreasonable for the consumer market.

  • Dennou Coil

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennou_Coil
  • How do you focus? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imkonen (580619) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:27PM (#30227054)
    Doesn't a contact lens sit closer to a human eye than anyone could ever actually focus their eyes on? In fact doesn't it sit on the focusing element? I guess the retina is different from the lens, but they are not very far apart IIRC, and can probably be considered one optic. IANAO (O = opthamologist) as you can tell, but I know a thing or two about optics. You cannot just display an image (either by absorption of the backlight or emission from tiny LEDS) onto an imaging lens (human or mechanical) that looks like what you want to display the way you can with a HUD or a computer monitor. What you percieve as spatially separated regions in your view map to different angles of incidence of light rays impinging on your lens. Each "pixel" in your eye (or literal pixel in a camera) collects light passing through all regions of the lens, but only at one angle. So to create a 256x256 display on a contact image that appeared in focus, the lens would have to emit light over a controllable grid of 256x256 angles.

    I don't know that the technology is theoretically impossible, but I think articles like this usually gloss over this not at all minor technical difficulty. Transparent circuitry is much easier because of this same phenomenon. If you cover up 50% of the area of a contact lens with completely opaque circuitry, you won't see the circuits in your vision, you'll just see a reduced intensity as if you were wearing sunglasses, because the circuitry will be so out of focus it will appear uniform. If your circuitry is only covering 10% of the area, you probably won't even notice the difference.

  • Hundreds of LEDs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hell O'World (88678) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:47PM (#30227290)

    Hundreds of LEDs? Why, you could make a 10 X 10 pixel display with that.

  • Well, getting them on and off does. I have to wear glasses, as contacts either pop off at ten-minute intervals or stick on my eyeballs like they were glued there. If the optometrist bruises the hell out of your eye trying to pry the little frigger off, then contacts are not for you. (There is a =reason= Lenscrafters is still in business.) You can't wave it away with folksy home-remedies and anecdotal tales of adjustment - contact lenses are simply unusable for a significant chunk of the population, and buil

  • And I'm working on a device to hijack those displays.

    I call it "The Ultimate Goatse Device"

  • I don't understand people wanting this and similar technology in a contact lens, we can already replace our original lenses (for reasons such as cataracts). Forget the contacts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intraocular_lens [wikipedia.org]

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:31PM (#30228604)
    Let's take a step back from the idea of contact lens displays to the lower-tech idea of wearable Head Mounted Displays. Where are they? It's been 20 or more years since the promise of Virtual Reality and yet I still can't go into the average computer store and by some VR goggles. You can buy them on-line of course but frankly they are awful. Most of them have low resolution and a field of view equivalent to a 14 inch monitor on your desk (cunningly advertised as being equivalent to 70 inch screen at 10 feet).

    Field of view is really the most important thing for an immersive experience, not the 3D aspect. Imagine the impressive view you would get looking out from the top of a mountain. There is no useful 3D information in the scene since everything is too far away, but it certainly wouldn't feel fake despite the lack of 3D. If you look at the same mountain view through a tiny window though, suddenly you are now longer "there", and it just becomes a picture of a mountain view. That's the dire experience you get from today's narrow field of view. Even the super expensive HMDs that cost as much as a house do not provide a normal human field of view.

    I think the problem is that there is no real drive to bring virtual reality to the consumer market. Companies are far too comfortable making games designed to be played on a low field of view window on the world that never moves. If one of the major console makers pushed the idea of VR, it might change things. I won't hold my breath though. I've been waiting 20 years for VR and there is just no will there to go with the idea despite all the technical advances we have made.

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