One in the Eye of Augmented Reality – AR Contact Lens

One in the Eye for ARAR seems to be the latest coolest thing.

There’s app’s appearing like Kooaba and Layar that overlay info in real-time over real objects but that’s not enough.

Nope – not enough for a team at the University of Washington who’s busy developing a prototype contact lens that would function as an LED computer display, projecting images directly into a wearer’s retina.

This has been going on since January 2008 and now the team is preparing to show off its prototype at the BioCas conference in Beijing later this month.

“Our hope is to create images that effectively float in front of the user perhaps 50cm to 1m away,” says researcher Babak Parviz when chatting with the New Scientist.

The researchers reckon uses could include subtitles being beamed into your eye as you listen to someone speaking a foreign language – doesn’t exactly help with your replies though does it? But cool idea none-the-less.

As well as that being a little one-way there’s also the subject of power.

Contacts, obviously, are too small to have a battery fitted to them – not to mention that made me feel a little queasy.

So the team is working on harnessing the tiny electrical current emitted by radio waves, specifically from mobile phones.

The hope is that mobiles, in addition to providing power to the tiny displays, would relay information to them. Perhaps they will also perform some more of the processing as well.

So – contact lenses seem to be getting some attention again.

There’s this AR lens, the self-darkening lens shades but Rob Spence beats both.

Remember him?

He’s that Canadian film-maker who’s planning on using a camera embedded into one of his prosthetic eyes to capture footage for a documentary about public surveillance.

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