LED technology demonstrated in Contact Lenses
The future of in-eye display technology has been unveiled by a group of scientist based in Seattle. The scientists demonstrated the miniaturised LED display technology at the Beijing biomedical conference and the implications of their research and development could have a significant impact on future technologies.
The LED display will be built into a contact lens, allowing the user to see video and static information as if it was around 50cm in front of their eyes. Until recently this type of technology has been the stuff of sci-fi fantasy and whilst the commercial production of such units is still many years away, the scientists have been able to take the first steps towards producing a working model.
In the demonstration, researcher Babak Parviz showed the microscopic LED display integrated into a lens which was placed onto a rabbit's eye to prove the safety of the technology when in contact with the delicate surface. The lens itself was not operational during the demonstration.
At the moment there are several technical limitations to the technology which need to be addressed over the coming years. Mr Parviz indicated that lower resolution LED displays built into contact lenses could be used for gaming or navigation before more advanced, high-resolution devices became practical to manufacture and sell to a wide audience.
The ultimate aim of the group is to provide a true augmented reality experience, with the LED displays built into contact lenses allowing for captioning of real world objects and access to email and the internet without the need for a handheld device.
The main issue facing the displays at this time is how to provide power to such small devices. However, experts believe that in the future this will be solved and as work on next-generation computer displays continues there is expected to be much communication between the various groups at work on LED displays and related technologies.