Bionic vision within sight

Scientists at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ international conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems have presented for the first time a contact lens-based virtual display.

Engineers from the University of Washington used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.

Virtual displays have been proposed for many practical purposes — visual aids to help vision-impaired people, holographic driving control panels and even as a way to surf the Web on the go.

“Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside,” said Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering. “This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it’s extremely promising.”

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