The rise of head-mounted cameras like Google Glass that give the wearer a new kind of computer-assisted view of the world has led to the inevitable discussion of eyeball implants in the future. But now it looks like such a drastic, surgery-dependent path to enhanced eyesight won't be necessary thanks to a new development in optometry tech.
In a report published in the Optical Society's Optics Express journal this week, researchers have unveiled a telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision. This engineering feat is accomplished through the use of millimeter-thick mirror surfaces integrated into contact lens. The normal to magnified shuttering is initiated through the use of liquid crystal glasses that were originally designed for 3D television viewing. Once engaged, the lens can give the wearer up to 2.8 times magnification over normal vision.
Developed by a team of researchers from the U.S. and Switzerland as a possible solution for those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the device is described by the team as a more attractive option over surgically implanted micro-telescopes and head-mounted telescopes.
And while this was developed as a tool for AMD patients, it's hard not to extrapolate forward and envision this kind of development soon leading to commercial applications from computing, aesthetic purposes (imagine going from brown eyes to blue in two seconds), and overall bio-enhancements that we probably haven't even thought of yet.