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Solar-Powered Augmented Reality Contact Lenses

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the are-they-covered-in-the-vision-plan dept.

Science 213

ByronScott writes "Want eyesight that could put your neighborhood cyborg to shame? Well, University of Washington professor Babak Amir Parviz and his students are working on solar-powered contact lenses embedded with hundreds of semitransparent LEDs, letting wearers experience augmented reality right through their eyes. If their research proves successful, the applications — from health monitoring to gameplay to just plain bionic sight — could be endless."

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213 comments

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first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517630)

FIRST POST you niggers

Re:first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517680)

GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY?

Are you a NIGGER?

Are you a GAY NIGGER?

If you answered "Yes" to all of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for!"

Re:first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517870)

I know this won't be popular here, but I don't care. I HATE pirates. They are ruining it for the rest of us, and frankly they ARE damaging the industry and they JUST. DON'T. CARE. It's like banging my head against a brick wall sometimes talking to my friends who brag about downloading dozens or even hundreds of movies and albums and god knows what else. But I have the last laugh anyway, because I know for sure I enjoy every movie I buy or rent myself, and every CD that I purchase from the store way more than pirates will for stealing. In the end, they are only stealing from themselves. Stealing their own enjoyment.

Re:first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518704)

A link to a tinyurl-esque site that links to the stumbleupon page for the site in question? What is this I don't even

Yes I Do Want (5, Insightful)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517640)

Oh my. Yes indeed, if that is not the coolest sounding thing I've heard all day, I don't know what is.

Though now that I think a little more, a spam attack on your eyeballs could be troubling...

Re:Yes I Do Want (5, Funny)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517660)

Just wait for the malware on whatever drives the display... You could actually punch the monkey and win!

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517990)

Nothing like a BSOD on your contact lenses while driving

Re:Yes I Do Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518224)

Just wait for the malware on whatever drives the display... You could actually punch the monkey and win!

And in Australia, if you didn't stop spanking the monkey, you really would go blind!

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517854)

Though now that I think a little more, a spam attack on your eyeballs could be troubling...

Yes, you'd have to [shivers] take off your contacts!

I kid, yes it would be troubling in situations like driving, doing surgery, or doing surgery while driving, all of which could be helped by these things conceivably.

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518650)

Except, in my case, as long as my vision isn't completely blocked out, it would be magnitudes better than being practically blind.

Re:Yes I Do Want (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517878)

Though now that I think a little more, a spam attack on your eyeballs could be troubling...

People always think of the best outcome when a new technology is created, forgetting the cesspool we call humanity that's going to use and pervert it. The day you have bionic eyes is the day people start paying good money to augment your "virtual reality" to replace competitors advertisements, add advertisements onto everyday objects surrepticiously, and what you'll end up with is drowning in useless information just as much now, sitting at your keyboard reading this, except you won't be able to unplug.

Most of my friends have the social expectation that if they send me a text or email, I reply in a few minutes, a half hour tops. Any longer, and they think something's gone wrong, and start calling me and everyone I know to find out what happened. God help us all the day we're linked continuously with each other over a massive communications network; Kiss democracy goodbye, privacy, anonymity, freedom, and the right to choose how you life your life goodbye. It'll all be auctioned off to the highest bidder. It'll be like Ghost in the Shell, with police, government agents, and large corporations being able to cloak themselves from being seen. And there won't be trials anymore -- the bionic eye's constant connection with the network will mean everything you see from the moment you wakeup until you go to bed will be available for review. They'll make their use mandatory because it results in zero crime. Or so they'll say.

It isn't fear-mongering to expect this. Not fifteen years ago when the internet was in its infancy, most of what was out there was high quality scientific research and most of the e-mails being sent were between real people, having real conversations. Today, it's a cesspool where 99% of what your inbox gets hit with is someone trying to sell you something. Every window into the web has advertisements hanging off of it. And here in Minnesota, the Supreme Court recently ruled that it was okay for people to be convicted of DUI if they could have been capable of operating a motor vehicle. People being thrown in jail because of the possibility that a crime could have occurred -- it is no longer necessary that the public (or yourself) be harmed for the law to reach into your lives. Today we live in a society where the merest possibility of a person engaging in a criminal act is sufficient grounds for conviction.

Technology does not change the way people think. Human intellectual capacity has not altered in the past 4,000 years (at least) as far as we can tell. We can laugh at people who believed the world was flat, but the fault is ours for doing so -- we did not understand how they saw the world. There wasn't anything wrong with their eyes, or their brains. We're fundamentally no smarter than they were. But we think we are. And we're so confident, so smugly superior to our predecessors that we know this future can't happen.

Of course there will be trials. And freedom. And democracy. And all that good stuff. We know it because, well, gosh darn it, that's how it has to be.

No.

No it doesn't.

All these things we value will die, and we can't blame technology for it. All technology does, this one included, is expose and direct us towards the fundamental question of what it means to be human. And let me just say -- that definition is not sunshine and rainbows. We were given free will. Nowhere in that does it say we are in any way inclined to do good; When it comes right down to it, very few people truly trust one another, and we'd believe our own direct sensory experiences over what anyone would tell us. We imitate others. That's all culture is -- the direct observation of our environment, which is translated into coping mechanisms (behaviors) that we then interpose between ourselves and it.

So tell me, where does that leave us when those sensory experiences become artificial and malleable?

Re:Yes I Do Want (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517964)

So, I take it that you won't want to borrow my pair when I get them? I bet they'll make my iPad look even better than my rose colored glasses :-)

Re:Yes I Do Want (2, Insightful)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518214)

A well thought-out, on-topic response being modded as redundant? Even if you don't agree with the poster's reasoning, this certainly isn't redundant.

Re:Yes I Do Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518246)

A well thought-out, on-topic response being modded as redundant? Even if you don't agree with the poster's reasoning, this certainly isn't redundant.

Agreed. I modded it up.

Re:Yes I Do Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518282)

Same

Re:Yes I Do Want (3, Funny)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518928)

Me too... oh... wait.

Re:Yes I Do Want (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518266)

A well thought-out, on-topic response being modded as redundant? Even if you don't agree with the poster's reasoning, this certainly isn't redundant.

Re:Yes I Do Want (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518322)

A well thought-out, on-topic response being modded as redundant? Even if you don't agree with the poster's reasoning, this certainly isn't redundant.

You must be new here, so I'll make this simple: Most of my posts are well thought-out, on-topic, and therefore piss off a lot of people, who make it a point whenever they get mod points to nuke any post with my username associated with it into oblivion. So you need to make a diversionary post, like this:

Attention Moderator Who Put Me Down As Redundant:

You Have a Small Penis. No Amount of Mod Points Can Fix This.

Sincerely, The Girl Who's Pants You'll Never Get Into.

See? Works nicely. Now they'll waste their points moderating this down (with hopefully a few +1, Funny, to keep it afloat for awhile), thus providing the necessary diversion to get the well-thought out post past the haters. Now sit back and watch the fireworks, kiddo. ;)

Re:Yes I Do Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518604)

That's "Whose" not "Who's."

After all, if you're set on letting ANYbody here into your pants, you're going to need to straighten that stuff out first. Heh. Heheh. Don't be ridiculous! :)

Thank you! I'll be here all week long. Try the veal!

Re:Yes I Do Want (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518658)

That's "Whose" not "Who's." After all, if you're set on letting ANYbody here into your pants, you're going to need to straighten that stuff out first. Heh. Heheh. Don't be ridiculous! :)

Fortunately, discovering that someone is an intellectual snob usually happens on the first date. That's when I split the tab, and then split for the exit. Besides, I'm under no illusions that there's any eligible lesbians who read slashdot in my zipcode. To date, I've found two regular posters here that ping the radar, and neither are even in my state. :(

Re:Yes I Do Want (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518804)

So tell me, where does that leave us when those sensory experiences become artificial and malleable?

I leaves us as members of the hive that is defined as a wired society.

I say this because I'm in an agreement with you. We are quickly losing our individuality and freedom as you so stated. I'm already at my breaking point of just "unplugging" myself from all this noise. I'm sure it will lead to depression and loneliness at first. Eventually however, I will feel liberated!

I need a very very long walk in the desert...alone. Just give me water and the clothes on my back. I will figure the rest out later.

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

opposabledumbs (1434215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518978)

One of the best posts I've read in a long time, and definitely on topic - what the hell is going on with the moderating here?

du-du-du-du (1)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517914)

"Yes indeed, if that is not the coolest sounding thing I've heard all day, I don't know what is."

No, this is the coolest sounding thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYj31Y_IbcM [youtube.com]

Re:Yes I Do Want (0, Offtopic)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517974)

They're doing this with LED's and not LSD?

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

pieszynski (625166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518324)

Yesterday transcontinental high speed rail, today this. Beyond awesome, the 2020's could be good.

Re:Yes I Do Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518434)

it is the 2010s

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518474)

Yes, but these things don't just pop up over night. Maybe in 10 years we'll see something consumer-grade, and guess what, it'll be 2020 :P

Re:Yes I Do Want (1)

Ranzear (1082021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518414)

Funnily enough theres a literature example of that. Persons with nanotechnologic eye implants in The Diamond Age are frequently hacked to show spam and advertisements at all waking hours, even when trying to sleep. Its cited as the biggest reason they aren't very popular.

I suppose contact lenses with much the same function wouldn't be so hard to be rid of in such a case though.

The joy of teh ganja (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517650)

Dear Microsoft,

Thank you for producing your recent ad showing that Europeans are complete fucking morons. I hadn't really thought of this before. I mean, niggers and kikes, sure,
retard city. But them so-phis-tee-kate-ed European badass motherfuckers? Never'd'a thunk it my friend! So thank you again for enlightening the world and
me that europeans ain't no better'n the rest of us, and probly worse.

Sincerely and Thankfully,

Hee-Haww Motherfucker!

i am SO high right now

Re:The joy of teh ganja (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517882)

In the morning, you'll be straight again. But you'll still be a moron.

Fascinating (1)

Johnny Fusion (658094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517652)

It seems the goggles and glove VR dreams of 15 years ago are being replaced with AR devices that are smaller and smaller. Makes me wonder however if it would be self-contained (unlikely) or have to communicate with some hardware either broadcasting near your location or probably worn on your person somewhere.
The only added feature that I would want for something like this is for it to work also as a corrective lens. Or else those of us without perfect sight are well... left in the dark.

Re:Fascinating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517702)

Or continue wearing you glass over.

Re:Fascinating (2, Insightful)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517786)

Makes me wonder however if it would be self-contained (unlikely) or have to communicate with some hardware either broadcasting near your location or probably worn on your person somewhere.

Well, it's unlikely to have much processing power and still actually stay in your eye, but I don't see too much downside of it connecting to a small (or large depending on the requirements) wearable computer on a personal network for the processing of information or connecting to the web for information to correlate or display. e.g. If it's giving you directions to the closest ATM the wearable could get your GPS position, look up the ATM and then display little arrows on the lens. I doubt they can build this into the lens itself. That functionality may even be an app on your Android phone. That;s probably powerful enough to manage much of what folks would want. No need to lug around a whole PC.

Re:Fascinating (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518424)

and what power it do not have, it can grab from a service somewhere.

Looks Pretty Vapory (4, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517670)

It's in its "nascent" stages, years away from reality, and they mention that even a single pixel could be beneficial - already managing expectations downward. Seems like pretty good PR to me.

BTW, I'm working on teleportation. It too is in its nascent stages.

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517754)

Would teleporting a single atom be beneficial?

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (1)

MentlFlos (7345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518126)

Would teleporting a single atom be beneficial?

It all depends on how long it takes and how fast you can do another one.

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518460)

Would teleporting a single atom be beneficial?

That is already possible, and no it is not beneficial.

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518022)

I could imagine as little as 2 pixels being useful. If you had them on the left and right edges of your vision you could vary their intensity with relation to your orientation towards an objective. Think how first person shooters often have a red glow on the edge of the screen in the direction you're being attacked from.

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518514)

And if you could block your left and right eyes alternatively at high speeds, you could see in 3D! Think of the possibilities!

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518820)

Interesting thought, if you have high blood pressure you will sometimes get what's known as "floaters" in your eye, where a small part of the retina breaks off and leaves a spot in your vision, its kind of like a dead pixel in your monitor, and trust me, there is no warranty :/

Anyway, reason I mention it is because due to medication I have gotten 2 of these little bastards now (thankfully the drug I was on I am no longer using), and having a little dot or 2 on the edge of your vision is not useful, it is ,in fact, VERY FUCKING ANNOYING.

Unless they can give us readable heads-up displays forget it, flashing dots and crap just mean your either on bad meds or drinking too much ;)

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (3, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518058)

If you follow the trail of blog references, you end up here [justgetthere.us] , which is apparently the blog of one of the researchers. It has far more information. To your particular point: "In recent trials, rabbits wore lenses containing metal circuit structures for 20 minutes at a time with no adverse effects. ... We’ve mainly pursued the active approach and have produced lenses that can accommodate an 8-by-8 array of LEDs. For now, active pixels are easier to attach to lenses. But using passive pixels would significantly reduce the contact’s overall power needs—if we can figure out how to make the pixels smaller, higher in contrast, and capable of reacting quickly to external signals."

So it's probably a little bit further along than your teleportation research. Are you using rabbits too?

Re:Looks Pretty Vapory (4, Funny)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518554)

So it's probably a little bit further along than your teleportation research. Are you using rabbits too?

Heh. They're the primary subjects. Magicians have been teleporting rabbits into special receptacles for ages. Though what the top hats are for, I'm unsure of. Maybe they're just pretty packaging for the power supply.

Okay, so they've got *part* of an awesome idea (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517690)

Yeah, this sounds really cool. Now for the fun part - how do you communicate with these things? Wires hanging out of your eyes connected to a computer?

I'd love such a tech. But let's not get too excited, as this has a LONG way to go before it'll become useful...

Re:Okay, so they've got *part* of an awesome idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517762)

meh - if they can do the other proposed things, wireless comms are the least of their problems (if they can fab led arrays, photo cells and a display controller, they can do bluetooth-esque comms or worse case an optical receiver - worse case because you would need line of sight to your control module)

Re:Okay, so they've got *part* of an awesome idea (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517874)

No of course not, no wares.. (scrolls by quickly) Would you like to DOWNLOAD the latest VISION Driver? Blink Once for YES Blink Twice for NO Blink Thrice for EJECT You blinked once for YES. Is this correct? Blink Once for YES Blink Twice for NO I'm sorry, we could not catch your blink. Please try again later..

Re:Okay, so they've got *part* of an awesome idea (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518626)

In the diagram it labels a wireless antenna. It seems they've already thought it through.

Re:Okay, so they've got *part* of an awesome idea (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518648)

Yeah, this sounds really cool. Now for the fun part - how do you communicate with these things? Wires hanging out of your eyes connected to a computer?

I'd love such a tech. But let's not get too excited, as this has a LONG way to go before it'll become useful...

Yeah, fundamental research is often a LONG way from application in reality. I know you get that, but a lot of people posting here don't seem to grasp that concept, so it seemed worth pointing out.

Why are you staring into the sun ? (4, Funny)

ryan.onsrc (1321531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517730)

The charge on my contact lenses is running low.

Contact lenses that I would use (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517742)

If these things are still meant to correct vision and if they fit me*, I would totally consider switching from glasses to these contacts. I'm a bit farsighted (I can still mostly read without my glasses, but it causes me a headache to try to do so), and I like my glasses because I don't feel like I'm going to poke out my eye whenever I want to see properly (I have never worn contacts, so please don't yell at me for believing what I see on TV). But, given the right interesting applications, I'd totally go for these contacts. For example, the possibility of real-time IRL speech captioning mentioned in TFA sounds really awesome! :D

* Part of my eye problem is an astigmatism. I'm sure we've all heard how well-engineered contacts have to be to fit that sort of problem.

Re:Contact lenses that I would use (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517766)

I had mild astigmatism and regular contacts worked fine. I also never poked out my eyes.

Re:Contact lenses that I would use (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518076)

I have mild astigmatism and it takes at least 2 to 5 seconds for the lens to rotate/center appropriately (every time i blink, or even look far to the sides) - and during this time, my vision is actually twice as BAD as it is uncorrected. We tried all sorts of brands/types etc.

Because of this, I have to stick with glasses.

Re:Contact lenses that I would use (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518094)

Bummer, I guess mine was super mild.

Re:Contact lenses that I would use (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518480)

Mine's bad enough that oncoming traffic looks like they have double the headlights, and reading streen signs is nearly impossible at any respectable distance.

In the daytime it's not so bad. Additionally, since both eyes have a different angle to it, my brain can normally 'filter' it out (the bits common to each eye stay after I look at something for a second or two)

Re:Contact lenses that I would use (1)

leon.gandalf (752828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518124)

At 32 I have just started needing correction and contacts are not that bad. Just do not handle any kind of hot pepper before you install or remove them.

Re:Contact lenses that I would use (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518590)

At 32 I have just started needing correction and contacts are not that bad. Just do not handle any kind of hot pepper before you install or remove them.

On the other hand they're great for onions. My wife can chop onions without any problems as long as she's wearing her contacts. With her glasses on she suffers as much as anyone.

Focus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517748)

The article doesn't address how they plan to get the display in focus despite being right on the surface of the cornea. Seems like the biggest problem to me.

Re:Focus? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518084)

The individual LEDs would have lenses in them already. Shape them correctly and the light appears to come from X feet away.

Bullcrap (2, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517758)

Get back to us when you have some sorta prototype.

Re:Bullcrap (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517872)

Get back to us when you have some sorta prototype.

I think you're in the wrong part of the internet. This is news for nerds. Really cool tech, even if it might turn out to be vaporware, qualifies.

Re:Bullcrap (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518052)

We already have people seeing things using their tongues as neural relays to the brain. Why would this be fundamentally different, besides using already-functioning organs and augmenting them?

Re:Bullcrap (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518082)

FWIW, there's a bit more about it here [justgetthere.us] . They've apparently got prototypes working on rabbits, or something. Not sure what they're showing the rabbits -- "Look! Virtual carrots!" -- but it's a start.

Re:Bullcrap (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518612)

Get back to us when you have some sorta prototype.

From the blog [justgetthere.us] of one of the scientists involved:

in fact, my students and I are already producing such devices in small numbers in my laboratory at the University of Washington, in Seattle. These lenses don’t give us the vision of an eagle or the benefit of running subtitles on our surroundings yet. But we have built a lens with one LED, which we’ve powered wirelessly with RF. What we’ve done so far barely hints at what will soon be possible with this technology.

That sounds like a working prototype to me.

Hundreds? I count 64 (1)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517778)

Hundreds? I count 64 LEDs.

Hardly revolutionary.

Re:Hundreds? I count 64 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517808)

So the first microprocessor wasn't revolutionary because it couldn't run Bioshock 2?

Re:Hundreds? I count 64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518350)

Remind me to attend your revolution

Someday they'll reach kilopixel resolution... (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518610)

... and the singularity will be at hand!

Problems (5, Informative)

rabiddeity (941737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517796)

There are several difficulties with this type of system that have prevented it from becoming a reality. Here are a few:

1. This is too close to the eye to be able to resolve focus in most situations. The light isn't collimated or directional (it appears to be focused with some sort of "microlens" system), so one LED turned on can spread out to stimulate a wide patch of retinal cells. With any regular LED system you'd just see a big blur. For information requiring a single light this isn't a problem (flash an LED on/off under certain conditions, or change the color) but anything more will require something which can project cleanly onto the retina. This is not a trivial problem.
2. The detail-oriented part of your retina is near the center, in a part called the fovea [wikipedia.org] . While you think your vision is equally clear across a wide range, this is actually a trick of your brain. Your eyes are quite sensitive to rapid movement (low latency) on the edges, and more sensitive to detail in the center. When observing fine detail such as text, your eye actually "scans" an area and forms a larger, detailed image from the composite. Even if you could project the light cleanly 1:1 onto the retina, for any textual/HUD information you'd have to track eye motion very precisely and provide the information that the brain "expects" to see at each point. And again, the light has to be projected onto a very small part of the retina.
3. Retinal cells can get easily overstimulated, much like the burn-in on old CRTs. Even when looking at one object of normal intensity for any period of time longer than a few seconds, your eye will "jitter" back and forth. This involuntary movement is called nystagmus [wikipedia.org] , and your brain compensates for it. (The rhythm changes when alcohol or drugs are ingested, which is why nystagmus tests are part of a DUI test.) Lab tests have shown that when the eye is physically restrained from moving in this way, objects effectively become invisible to the subject. So any 1:1 projection would also have to track nystagmus and then "jitter" in the same way as the eye, or the conveyed information would also become invisible.

Re:Problems (1, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517860)

1. You say each LED is not collimated or directional but then you mention a microlens system. What does this microlens do, if not collimate?

2. Contact lenses move with the eye.

3. See 2.

Re:Problems (1)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517966)

2 and 3: the contact lenses moving with the eye is exactly the problem. If the image remains locked to the same point in your field of view your brain will quickly assume it's a problem and correct for it (by ignoring it).

Unless eye tracking can make the projected image appear to be floating in front of you somehow (by adjusting its location in your FOV based on eye alignment) this will never work. For purely biological reasons.

Re:Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518016)

Micro-accelerometers. 2&3 solved.

Re:Problems (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518720)

It makes complete sense. Projection/LED spectacles would overcome all of those issues - the image stays still relative to your head, and you eye can scan them like a regular screen. They are also far easier to build and less medical risk.

Re:Problems (2, Informative)

rabiddeity (941737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518000)

> 1. You say each LED is not collimated or directional but then you mention a microlens system. What does this microlens do, if not collimate?

Think. Why are lasers of such importance? Why can't we just use LEDs with mirrors and lenses to accomplish the same thing as lasers in optical drives? The reasons here are very similar. There will be leakage, there will be diffraction, and the light won't focus cleanly on a single region of the retina.

> 2. Contact lenses move with the eye.

That's exactly the problem. When your eyes move the patterns from the outside world "move" across the retina, and the visual-optical response system can function properly. This set of lights is stuck to the front of your eyeball, so the light emitted by the LED array does not move. The way to solve this is to have some very intelligent circuitry that can pan the LED patterns on the display along with the eye movements.

Normal contact lenses do not produce light. They act as a surface to modify the shape of the cornea in order to fix aberrations in the lens system. (The lens inside your eye is one source of refraction, but the boundary of your cornea with air is the other major one. This is why refractive eye surgery can correct your vision.)

Does this make more sense?

Re:Problems (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518108)

Follow the article's trail of blog references and you get back to the source [justgetthere.us] . It answers your points, in a fashion. For what it's worth:

By now you’re probably wondering how a person wearing one of our contact lenses would be able to focus on an image generated on the surface of the eye. After all, a normal and healthy eye cannot focus on objects that are fewer than 10 centimeters from the corneal surface. The LEDs by themselves merely produce a fuzzy splotch of color in the wearer’s field of vision. Somehow the image must be pushed away from the cornea. One way to do that is to employ an array of even smaller lenses placed on the surface of the contact lens. Arrays of such microlenses have been used in the past to focus lasers and, in photolithography, to draw patterns of light on a photoresist. On a contact lens, each pixel or small group of pixels would be assigned to a microlens placed between the eye and the pixels. Spacing a pixel and a microlens 360 micrometers apart would be enough to push back the virtual image and let the eye focus on it easily. To the wearer, the image would seem to hang in space about half a meter away, depending on the microlens.

Another way to make sharp images is to use a scanning microlaser or an array of microlasers. Laser beams diverge much less than LED light does, so they would produce a sharper image. A kind of actuated mirror would scan the beams from a red, a green, and a blue laser to generate an image. The resolution of the image would be limited primarily by the narrowness of the beams, and the lasers would obviously have to be extremely small, which would be a substantial challenge. However, using lasers would ensure that the image is in focus at all times and eliminate the need for microlenses.

Whether we use LEDs or lasers for our display, the area available for optoelectronics on the surface of the contact is really small: roughly 1.2 millimeters in diameter. The display must also be semitransparent, so that wearers can still see their surroundings. Those are tough but not impossible requirements. The LED chips we’ve built so far are 300 m in diameter, and the light-emitting zone on each chip is a 60-m-wide ring with a radius of 112 m. We’re trying to reduce that by an order of magnitude. Our goal is an array of 3600 10-m-wide pixels spaced 10 m apart.

One other difficulty in putting a display on the eye is keeping it from moving around relative to the pupil. Normal contact lenses that correct for astigmatism are weighted on the bottom to maintain a specific orientation, give or take a few degrees. I figure the same technique could keep a display from tilting (unless the wearer blinked too often!).

Adblock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517828)

I want adblock! Just put porn over all detected ads.

sounds cool but... (2, Funny)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517842)

...where the hell is my FLYING CAR !?

Re:sounds cool but... (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518042)

have you checked under the couch?

Re:sounds cool but... (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518120)

You can only see it if you're wearing these contacts...

Re:sounds cool but... (1)

brunokummel (664267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518174)

...where the hell is my FLYING CAR !?

due to the high energy demand of the flying car factories, we are focusing on a Cold Fusion Plant for a while...but I tell you that it'll be released before Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:sounds cool but... (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518300)

Moller is trying as hard as they can.

Re:sounds cool but... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518530)

Simply buy four jetpacks and duct tape them to your car!

Re:sounds cool but... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518824)

We were flying it out to you, but your payment was delayed and we had to disable it. Feel free to pick up your wreckage once you drop off your next payment.

Regards,
Texas Auto Center

Call me when there's a demo (2, Insightful)

beatsme (1472991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517868)

These images and this concept have been floating around for years now. The only new pitch is the solar-poweredness. Besides that, this is old hat just sitting on the back burner. Call me when there's a press demonstration

Interesting article, but... (1)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517920)

.... I wish the URL shortener had been stripped. Always makes me nervous because in some cases they might be altered -- I remember the days before Slashdot revealed URLs in comments when people would direct unsuspecting readers to Goatse. Also I just think it's better in terms of longevity of a post (if that makes sense -- a full URL more likely to be valid for longer than a shortened link).

Missing tag: Rainbows End (1)

grayshirtninja (1242690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518070)

If these ever hit the market as a product I would buy them in an instant. I've wanted this kind of thing ever since I read Vernor Vinge's excellent Rainbows End. Augmented reality is one of the most exciting technologies being developed right now (I'm just glad it hasn't become a buzzword yet).

Re:Missing tag: Rainbows End (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518478)

not a buzzword yet? Buzzword's are fun [google.com]

Internet Glasses (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518072)

Mandatory Dennou Coil [wikipedia.org] reference.

Re:Internet Glasses (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518326)

There is nothing about this story that invokes a mandatory reference to anime.

Old news, actually. (1)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518114)

Wow, flashback from early 2008. Okay, firstly, "if" is not really an issue. It works fine. Also, not a very good article. There are a number of articles about Prof. Parviz's work at this point, most of which are much better. Try the UW News [uwnews.org] or IEEE Spectrum [ieee.org] articles for starters (the first is a good summary, the second is more in-depth).

As to "if their research proves successful" - again, it works fine. The main issue right now is that the existing prototype is a low-budget / small-scale version...in short, it's at the "please insert more funding to continue" stage. As in, the only thing stopping them from building decently high-resolution wireless solar-powered contact lens displays right now is the need for more money to actually build the things. The know-how is pretty much all there.

Re:Old news, actually. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518216)

> All we need is more money.

Yes, that's a flashback to a lot of projects since the invention of money. Oh, and you also need bio-compatible LED's tested on real animals and real humans. And you need to provide, and test, actually enhanced signals that the human eye can use, rather than Powerpoint presentations and Microsoft Project plans and startup budget plans. And oh, yes, a valid reason to justify stuffing the system into expensive contact lenses rather than ordinary, more robust and safer to wear goggles.

Re:Old news, actually. (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518808)

Well, first, they have the devices (I read another article as described by GP) and while they components aren't bio-compatible, they encapsulate them so they're safe. They have also tested them on real, live, fluffy bunnies which were unharmed by the tests.
As for goggles, well, some of us like to look somewhat like regular people and not wear goggles and propeller hats in public.

Honestly Officer, ... (1)

Katchu (1036242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518242)

Honestly Officer, I swerved to miss a giraffe.

Nuclear trolls are slow today (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518262)

Come on guys, solar was mentioned, what are you waiting for. Tell us how superior nuclear would be for this application.

Re:Nuclear trolls are slow today (2, Funny)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518292)

If they were nuclear powered, they could give us super night vision.

One cool use... (1)

Polo (30659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518330)

Am I the only one who thought you might get cool glowy eyes like in Stargate SG-1?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa'uld [wikipedia.org]

Does this mean... (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518368)

I can finally have Yuri Goggles?
Awesome!

Solar powered?! (1)

ScaryMonkey (886119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518686)

"To recharge, stare directly into sun."

The future of AR (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31518916)

I've thought a bit about what really good augmented reality could do.

Expensive at first, it is used by fighter pilots to give themselves 4 pi steradian field of view, unobstructed by bits of airplanes, with head-up-or-down-or-whichever-way-it-is-pointing display.

If the first application of a new technology is military, the second application will be pornography. You could order up a visible-only-to-you lap dancer to liven up that boring meeting at work.

When visiting the Parthenon, with the flick of a switch it transforms from ruins to a reconstruction of what it used to look like. Or why visit the Parthenon at all? Download the data and look at it while wandering around in a field.

Don't like your home decor? Just download a Regency England skin for your living room. Same old beat up sofa, but now it looks like a priceless antique.

People could broadcast avatar descriptions. If you have your AR set to accept avatars, you see that fat balding male programmer as a buxom bikini-clad feline-humanoid. There are clubs where you're not allowed in unless you have an avatar and have your AR set to see avatars.

Why be satisfied with the avatars other people choose for themselves? Give your credit card number to a dodgy website and you can download a program to make everyone else appear naked. Just try to ignore the online pharmacy ads which sometimes scroll across young women's breasts.

Contact lenses are clumsy: bionic implants are the way of the future. Wire that AR direct into your optic nerve!

Now that the AR system can't be removed, the Big Evil Government starts demanding overrides be installed. You never know where the Thought Police are, because your AR is programmed to not see them - they are invisible. (The word "fnord" will also be invisible, but will trigger stress hormones.)

Not in the expected context... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31518968)

I could see it working with glasses, but not in contact lenses. I don't care how advanced technology gets contact lenses slip. Hence the need for special lenses for people with astigmatism. (torrik lenses?) The lens itself would have to have a way to monitor it's own position on the eye, In all three axis'. Then, it would need to be able to adjust output instantaneously. It would also have to adjust relative screen positioning and ''size" according to the focus of the wearer. This kind of on the fly-instantaneous processing is very intensive, and I highly doubt anything that fits between your cornea and eyelid could contain everything needed. Think about it, your focus changes in-literally-the blink of an eye. You change your focus from speedometer to that white crown vic half a mile away in an instant and think nothing of it. Augmented reality I doubt, but I could see practical usage in immerse-ment technology. For augmented reality I see a simple refraction based lens that works only on outside influence and paints an image directly to your retina, instead of projecting from outside your eye. Like DLP's mirror setup only on a much smaller format. This way it can bypass any distortion to your regular vision, yet still augment your vision the way it's intended. There might be a small dot/semi-circle of distortion where the mirror/lens setup is positioned, but the actual projector would be positioned on something like the frame of your eyeglasses, instead of needing to be positioned directly in your line of sight. Or for people without glasses, perhaps sitting on the bridge of your nose.

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