Making futuristic contact lenses more comfortable

As you can see, there’s been an awful lot of amazing technology that coincides with the contact lens. They can now diagnose disease, project images straight onto our eyeballs and do any number of other things. Incredible as this technology is, there is one problem that keeps poking its head up: these contact lenses might be futuristic, but they sure ain’t comfortable.  

This is a major problem.  

That’s why Jang-Ung Park, a chemical engineer at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, is collaborating with Samsung to create a soft contact lens that can do all these things.   

His plan is simple enough (for a scientist). By placing silver nanowires between grapheme layers, you end up wit a transparent conductor (the kind needed to drive LEDs i.e. the kind needed for all that amazing tech from the first paragraph). But you also end up with a material that is flexible enough to be placed on an over-the-counter, run-of-the-mill, soft contact lens.  

And it works, too. Park picked a bunch of rabbits to test these babies out, and the rabbits wore them for five hours without any strain. I have to presume rabbits are less inclined to wear contact lenses than humans, so this is a good sign.  

This is great news, especially for folks who love ideas like Google Glass but don’t want to prance around the city in ridiculous looking glasses. The tech isn’t advanced enough to run something like Google Glass, but this is the first step toward Google Contacts (though I’m sure a marketing team will have a better name for it, since that just sounds like your Gmail address book).  

Jang-Ung Park Reserach Group, Via Technology Review

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