Blink and you’ll miss it: the contact lens you control with a blink

Finally, they’ve found a reason I’d be willing to risk poking myself in the eye repeatedly while putting in contact lenses: scientists at the University of California in San Diego have managed to create a contact lens that can zoom in if you blink twice.

If ever you wanted proof we’re living in a science fiction future, being able to zoom in with the (double) blink of an eye is probably it. The lens is controlled by eye mvements after the scientists discovered the electrooculographic signals generated when eyes make specific movement, creating a lens that responds to these impulses when generated. 

In the case of zooming in, it’s merely a case of the lens changing its focal length depending on the signals generated. 

It’s incredible technology, and the creation has led to those involved saying it could innovate “visual prostheses, adjustable glasses and remotely operated robotics in the future”, but mostly it’s incredible. It’s not hard to see these contact lenses being used by those with healthy eyesight, because who doesn’t want to zoom in on things far away by blinking rapidly at them? 

Related: Cyberpunk 2077

If more functions can be added, and this should be possible as it’s done through the electrooculographic signals, there are plenty of potential applications for this. I like to think about how useful it would be if surgeons or other delicate professions could get fancy eye-zooming abilities after just a single blink.

There’s no word right now on whether this will become a commercial product that you can, y’know, actually buy at any point in the future. However, I for one am eagerly looking forward to our cyberpunk future. You can read more on the whole thing in New Scientist, which delves further into the science, but is behind a paywall. There’s the full paper, too. 

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