Augmented Reality and Super Sight: The Bionic Contact Lens

We’ve all watched sci-fi movies with just a twinge of jealousy. The incredible technology in movies like RoboCop, Terminator, and Iron Man often transform relatively ordinary individuals into people with extraordinary abilities. These bionic individuals use technology for increased information accessibility, augmented perceptual awareness and of course hyper augmented physical abilities like super strength or X-ray vision.

But this incredible technology is not nearly as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, bionic contact lenses made with tiny circuits and LEDs have already been created! Using LEDs inside these lenses enables them to project images, text and other information directly into the eye. These new lenses function very much like other early augmented reality technology (think Google Glass and Google Goggles). The basic concept is the same, but it’s near seamless integration to the eye could provide a number of key benefits.

The first of these are the actual physical benefits. Those who may be visually impaired could wear them to increase their visual ability, or have it provide them with alerts to curbs, stairs, uneven pavement or people and objects that may be in the person’s peripheral vision. For those with normal vision, it could even improve visual ability beyond 20/20.

Depending on how complex these bionic lenses become they may also be used as a virtual display. This means that, soon emails would be able to be read without logging into your computer or checking your phone. Drivers and pilots could receive up to the minute information about their routes right to their own eyes including road conditions, weather alerts, and even GPS directions.

Finally, our dreams of super sight are being realized! This technology has incredible potential and could truly transform how we see and experience the world around us.

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