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Scientists Develop Telescopic Contact Lenses That Can Zoom 3X

Over the past few years, we’ve heard about several exciting developments in the world of contact lenses. Researchers have made development on producing a pair of “smart” lenses for diabetics that are capable of checking glucose levels, and Google is even developing a set with an in-built camera. Now, scientists in Switzerland are working towards bringing us telescopic contact lenses that zoom in and out with just a wink. The new optical lenses were revealed few days ago by Eric Tremblay from the Swiss Federal Institute ofTechnology at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in California. The advanced new vision-enhancing system contains a set of telescopic lenses and smart glasses that can differentiate between blinks and winks so that the operator can effortlessly flick between zoomed and standard vision.
Image Credit: Eric Tremblay and Joe Ford. EPFL

The visual aids, which are still in the prototype phase, could be valuable for those with visual weakening, which affect approximately 285 million people worldwide. Certainly, they might one day aid people with a situation called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the primary cause visual weakness in adults over the age of 50. AMD is a progressive disease in which people slowly loss their central vision due to cell destruction and death in the retina. Although there are glasses in actuality to assist those with this illness, known as bioptic telescopes, they’re large and can affect with social interaction. This new method, however, is aimed to be much less intrusive.
The telescopes inbuilt into the lenses were essentially first developed with aid from DARPA as super thin cameras for airborne drones, but they were later altered into a vision-improving system that was first declared back in 2013. Since then, researchers have been fine-tuning the system to make the corresponding glasses better and the lenses more appropriate for longer use.

To switch between zoomed and standard view, all the operator has to do is wink their right eye which interferes the light being redirected from the contacts to the glasses, according to Science. When this signal is clogged, a polarized filter in the glasses kicks in which directs light towards the telescopic portion, New Scientist describes. To get back to standard vision, user just need to wink their left eye.

Though the team behind the system has made much major perfections since the first versions, it hasn’t been tried in humans and the extent of time they can be used is still limited, so it will unluckily be a while before we can buy them from the market.

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