July 3, 2008
Prototype contact lenses
Made in his Seattle laboratory, Babak Parviz has created new contact lenses which contain electronic circuits planning to add small LED to them and turn them into personal display screens the tinniest possible. Parviz is an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington He makes tiny but functional electronic devices and, using nanotechnology and micro fabrication techniques, integrates them on to polymers or glass using a process known as self-assembly. Contact lenses are made from flexible transparent polymers, just the sort of challenging material that Parviz is used to working with, “The driver is not to make something small. The driver is to make something that’s cool and useful. Having a display in a contact lens is very useful.” According to him the current display size in mobile phones hinders the process of miniaturization and that his contact lenses will help create display based gadgets cooler and smaller.
These lenses come with their own set of problems like focusing something so close to the eye, the use of lasers would have been a viable solution but it is too hazardous to even consider. Substituting lasers with microLED might be the answer but there is no telling now. However lets hope Parviz is successful in overcoming the challenges he faces and can help us see things in a new light.