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Scientists develop soft contact lens that can zoom with a blink

Is this the future of vision?

  • Published: July 30, 2019 12:43 PM IST
Contact Lens Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay


Scientists from the University of California, San Diego have developed a contact lens that lets you zoom in by blinking twice. You can control the soft lens using eye movements. It can pivot left and right as you look around. It can zoom in and out when you blink. Since the human eyeball is electric, the eye movement like blinking carries charge potential. This electrical potential exists between the front and back even when your eyes are closed.

The motion of the electrical potential can be measured when you move your eyes around or blink. “Even if your eye cannot see anything, many people can still move their eyeball and generate this electro-oculographic signal,” Shengqiang Cai, the lead researcher, told the New Scientist. Cai further adds that they measured the electrical signal and found a way to change the focal length of the lens using this signal. In the research paper, they explain that the soft lens made from stimuli-responsive materials have superior performance compared to the conventional glass lens.

Photo: Wiley Online Library

“To enable versatile interactions between human and those soft robots or soft machines, corresponding HMIs are imperative. Because the actuation mechanisms for soft robots/machines are typically different from conventional hard robots, specific compatibility between the HMIs and those newly developed actuation mechanisms are required,” the scientists explain in their paper.

They claim that the relative change in focal length can be as large as 32 percent. It is achieved by deforming the lens. They used a dielectric elastomer to achieve the required deformation. The scientists claim that this lens can be used for visual prostheses, adjustable glasses and remotely operated robotics in the future. This deformation of the soft lens to achieve zoom support can prove vital to create modern contact lens solution. Do you wear contact lens? Are you already envisioning wearing one and zoom in with a blink? Let us know in comments.

  • Published Date: July 30, 2019 12:43 PM IST