Pentagon orders heads up display lenses

BBC News reports that the Pentagon have ordered a special type of contact lens incorporating dual focus optics which allows the wearer to view a heads-up display whilst maintaining normal vision.

The iOptik system made by Innovega is being delivered to Darpa the Pentagon’s high tech R&D unit and most likely is destined for the battlefield but could eventually be combined with augmented reality systems that are all the rage right now.

Of course multifocal contact lenses aren’t a new idea, (neither are contact lens based heads up displays for that matter). We’ve been fitting multifocals at Cameron Optometry for years to people who require dual focus (for distance and reading as the eye ages a little). If only Darpa had thought to come here first…

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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