Contact Lens Market Closer Than Ever To Going Smart
Since they made the jump to mass-production in the 1970s, most advancements to contact lenses have come in the form of the materials used to make them. They’re thinner, softer, cheaper and more comfortable than ever, but in a technical sense their actual functionality hasn’t changed at all.
However, initiatives by tech companies like Alphabet are paving the way for wearable smart contacts. They’ve already prototyped working test units for a medical e-contact lens that can be used to track and monitor the health of your eyes and trigger the release of insulin when your blood-glucose level indicates it’s necessary.
However, beyond smart contacts, the end goal remains contact lens-based displays.
While workable prototypes for this concept (based on active-pixels built into the surface of the contact lens) have been touted as early as 2009, it’s likely that mass market products will utilize passive pixels that alter incoming light rather than generate their own – making them more energy efficient and reducing potential stresses on the eyes of users.
In an article on VentureBeat, EyeBuyDirect CEO Roy Hessel asserts that “VR and early smart glasses are already showing us a few things we could do with those pixels. Indeed, as augmented reality matures alongside contact lens technology, some truly fascinating possibilities open up.”
“Armed with built-in cameras and displays, contacts could ostensibly become the ultimate AR platform, far more versatile and immersive than current goggle-based technology,” he said.