Eccescopy, part 13

It would be appealing to think in terms of the eccescope in a form factor of a contact lens. There actually has been some interesting work in putting electronics on contact lenses, with the goal of eventually building a contact lens display. Babak Parviz and his former student Harvey Ho at the University of Washington have demonstrated that a contact lens containing electronic components can be worn by a rabbit for twenty minutes with no ill effects. The contact lens is shown below:




 

It has not been reported whether the rabbit thought this was a good idea, but that is a subject for another post.

The hope is that this will lead to eventual development of a kind of “hololens”, in which the contact lens somehow creates an image upon the eye’s retina:


hololens

 

Unfortunately, this is more difficult than it might seem. The problem is that the hololens is at an awkward place within the optical system. An image that originates within a contact lens — pressed against the eye’s cornea — is too near to be imaged by the eye’s own lens via conventional optics. Either a collimated light would need to originate inside the hololens (in other words, a tiny laser would need to be embedded inside the hololens), or else the lens would need to incorporate a fine array of micro-scale LEDs, each with its own tiny collimating lens, and each on the order of few microns in width.

This is almost certainly possible in the long term, but it is going to take a formidably large amount of engineering to get all the components in place. So while this may well be the eventual future, I wouldn’t bet on this approach winning out for the first generation of eccescopic displays.

One Response to “Eccescopy, part 13”

  1. Mari says:

    Now this is beautiful, but as you said probably not in my lifetime :( But since some people already do take laser surgery (it spooks me) some might be willing to take such an implant!

    OK back to clunky glasses then. Or if you can get Alan Mikli to design more sexy ones :)

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