New Scientific Invention: Contact Lens That Zoom in the Blink of an Eye
Imagine a future in which no more zooms are needed in cameras or binoculars required to spot that faraway flock of birds.
This future may be closer than expected, as engineering scientists led by Joe Ford from the University of California San Diego in the U.S. have created a contact lens that zooms when you blink twice.
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The team has created a contact lens that literally zooms upon your command, purely controlled by your eye movements.
How did they do this?
Put simply, the team measured the electrooculographic signals created by our eye movements - look up, down, left, right, blink, double blink - and then made a soft biomimetic lens that directly responded directly to those movements.
Biomimetic lenses, or materials, are man-made and as the name suggests, they mimic natural materials. They follow a natural design layout.
Electrooculography is a technique used to monitor and record eye movements.
What the scientists ended up with is a lens that's able to shift its focal length depending on the signals given.
Quite literally, they have now created a lens that zooms at the blink of an eye. Or two blinks in this case.
Very James Bond-esque!
It's not about the sight
Perhaps even more incredibly, the lens doesn't change according to sight. In fact, it doesn't need sight to change its focal point at all.
It changes thanks to the electricity generated by the movement. So, even if you can't see, but can blink, the lens can zoom.
But, actually seeing the change in focus is what makes this invention all the more fascinating.
Why did the researchers create this lens?
Aside from how nifty it is, the scientists are hoping this invention of theirs will assist in the spheres of "visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and remotely operated robotics in the future."
All admirable and useful uses, we'd say.
A young engineer called Robert Sansone won the first prize, and winnings of $75,000, at this year's Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world's largest international high school STEM competition.