Vision of the future: Researchers build bionic eye
Nanotech could let travelers check Net, e-mail or play games on floating display screen
Computerworld - Talk about bionic eyes and most people hearken back to the Bionic Man or other sci-fi shows. Engineers at the University of Washington, however, say it's not all movie magic fantasy.
University researchers reported that they have used nanotechnology manufacturing techniques to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. Perfecting virtual displays could mean that traveling executives could surf the Net or check their e-mail on a floating virtual display screen that only they could see. It also would mean that drivers could see their speed projected onto the windshield, or gamers could become far more immersed in their virtual worlds.
"Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Babak Parviz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, in a statement. "This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising. … People may find all sorts of applications for it that we have not thought about. Our goal is to demonstrate the basic technology and make sure it works and that it's safe."
Don't expect this particular contact lens to give you 20/20 vision. The latest prototype is not designed to correct vision problems, but researchers said the technology could eventually be used on a corrective lens without obstructing the person's vision.
Right now, the prototype of the bionic eye includes an electric circuit and diodes that emit red lights for the display. While the diodes are in place in the prototype, it doesn't light up yet. Researchers noted in a report that a major challenge was building the nanotechnology needed for the circuitry on delicate lens material. They ended up creating the circuits by layering pieces of metal that are only a few nanometers thick, and making the diodes one-third of a millimeter across.
Parviz said engineers will soon begin working to add wireless communications to and from the lens. He added that they hope to power the system by using a combination of radio frequency power and solar cells.
Parviz added that he hopes that putting in or removing the bionic eye will be as easy as dealing with a normal contact lens. Researchers said the prototype was tested on rabbits for up to 20 minutes without any signs of adverse reactions.
The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and a Technology Gap Innovation Fund from the University of Washington.
Read more about Networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts