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Augmented-Reality Contact Lens Prototype Coming To CES

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the resistance-is-futile dept.

Biotech 38

schwit1 writes with news that one of the big presentations at next week's Consumer Electronics Show will be a set of contact lenses that are designed to augment a user's vision. A company called iOptik will be demonstrating a functioning prototype. The lenses themselves are actually only part of the display — they're paired with eyeglasses that are fitted with micro-projectors which generate the imagery shown on the lenses. "[B]y utilizing the specialized lenses to help users focus on both close and faraway objects — an issue when putting panoramic images inches from the eyes — in conjunction with the glasses to project the media and overlays, Innovega is able to do two things when most wearables do just one. First, it can project 'glance-able' displays, like Google Glass does exclusively where data is pushed to the periphery. But by utilizing the contact lenses with the glasses, it can also project a full-screen HUD, in other words operate in a heads-up display mode similar to what goggle wearables like the gaming-focused Oculus Rift offer. ... 'All the usual optics in the eyewear are taken away and there is a sub-millimeter lens right in the center,' [iOptik CEO Stephen Willey] explained. 'It's shaped, so the outside of the lens is shaped to your prescription if you need one and the very center of the lens is a bump that allows you to see incredibly well half an inch from your eye.' The second component involved is the optical filter that directs light. 'Light coming from outside the world is shunted to your normal prescription. Light from that very near display goes through the center of the lens, the optical filter,' Willey said."

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Slashdot is teh sux0rz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45866301)

Fukc yow !

Damn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45866309)

You have to wear eyeglasses on top of the contacts? There goes every college student's plan to cheat on exams with this thing.

Re:Damn.... (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 8 months ago | (#45866587)

Remember, this is a prototype. 5 years ago cell phones were rather clumsy, too, and they'd been on the market for years. Expect the final (i.e., final before they start selling them) version to have a hidden controller, possibly in a belt or shirt-pocket.

Re:Damn.... (1)

aiadot (3055455) | about 8 months ago | (#45866765)

5 years ago cell phones were rather clumsy

5 years ago was 2009. Touch screen only Android 2.2 and iOS4 smartphones were already out. The difference between a a phone from today and 2009 and a phone from, 2009 and 2004 is much, much smaller (including even the advanced for the time Japanese feature phones). Not disagreeing with your point but, not really a good example.

On a side note I think it's going to take ages until there are processors and batteries small enough for making that lens an useful or desirable product. There is a good chance that company might go under even before releasing a final product. Just like electric cars. Over many decades several attempts were made and only recently with Tesla and Nissan we started seeing some good stuff.

Re:Damn.... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45866863)

Again, this has potential medical / military / industrial uses where price is less of an issue. They may be able to ramp up research and production using high value industries and then give it to the hoi polloi later.

Re:Damn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45867945)

Just like with the Internet... where many of the underlying technologies and original infrastructures were developed and laid down by DARPA.

Re:Damn.... (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about 8 months ago | (#45867477)

Remember, this is a prototype. 5 years ago cell phones were rather clumsy, too, and they'd been on the market for years. Expect the final (i.e., final before they start selling them) version to have a hidden controller, possibly in a belt or shirt-pocket.

In 5 years, maybe it will even support a camera too Our eyes could finally be used in order to perceive visual information. How cool is that?

Re:Damn.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45867491)

RTF Summary. The glasses are not a controller, they do the actual projecting of the image (the controller, presumably, is elsewhere, though I'd certainly expect it to be integrated with the glasses eventually - as discussed in TFA). The contacts are... contacts. Clever ones, but passive contact lenses nonetheless.

Re:Damn.... (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 8 months ago | (#45872151)

Damn. In that case it's not impressive at all. That kind of thing has been done in the lab for, I think, a decade now. So it's basically just a minor avance in packaging (piled on top of a decade of advances in packaging).

Re:Damn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45867495)

You have to wear eyeglasses on top of the contacts? There goes every college student's plan to cheat on exams with this thing.

Most forms of cheating simply won't help you out on a good exam. The only exception is if there's some kind of audio/video feed which allows you to sit in the chair while someone elsewhere actually does the work for you.

The problem is that most teachers and professors are lazy and don't make good exams.
A good example of a good exam were ones made by my high school physics teacher. The problems were all the same for everyone, but the actual numbers were different for each and every student, as was the placement of the correct answer in the 'a,b,c,d' selections. Yes, it was a little more work for him to make the tests, but it absolutely destroyed cheating. He even allowed you to bring notes... if you had to rely on them you were fucked.

Skynet, here we come! (0)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 8 months ago | (#45866375)

Sure, we're a few years late (I blame John Connor), but skynet is coming together, piece by piece.

We've already got the NSA, now we're getting terminator vision ... once google maps switches allegiance (and changes their name to cyberdyne), we'll know we're almost there.

Re:Skynet, here we come! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45866397)

Skynet? More like attack of the nerds.

Contact lenses AND glasses? No thanks. I've worn both but never at the same time and I have no intention of entering double hell.

Re:Skynet, here we come! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 8 months ago | (#45869015)

Skynet? More like attack of the nerds.

Contact lenses AND glasses? No thanks. I've worn both but never at the same time and I have no intention of entering double hell.

They'll go great with the suspenders and a belt.

Re: Skynet, here we come! (1)

ghighi (1416473) | about 8 months ago | (#45869243)

I have been wearing contact for a few years now and they have been a good send. For starters no one knows I can't see for sh*t (whereas wearing glasses put you in a different social category altogether) and my ability to look at my surroundings has greatly improved. I would really spend a lot for a display of that kind.

Re:Skynet, here we come! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45866569)

Yes but SciFi has it upside down. The problem does not come from robots who start thinking for themselves. The problem comes from robots who do exactly as they are told. "I was just following orders" rings a bell?

Re:Skynet, here we come! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45868269)

Yes but SciFi has it upside down. The problem does not come from robots who start thinking for themselves. The problem comes from robots who do exactly as they are told. "I was just following orders" rings a bell?

I saw 2001 as well, but I'm pretty sure it was fiction.

Terminator is obviously a documentary from the future, much like the matrix.

Pardon me while I put on some mirrorshades (1)

Noishkel (3464121) | about 8 months ago | (#45866429)

I love reading about stories like these... it tickles my nostalgia for things like ShadowRun and Cyberpunk.

Pity though... I probably could use them due to vision related neurological damage. -,,-

Contact lenses are the dealbreaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45866461)

I'd say the contact lenses are the dealbreaker. Clearly, they're not the disposable kind, so maintenance is going to be a pain in the ass.

Re:Contact lenses are the dealbreaker (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#45866619)

They're made using the same mass production techniques as conventional contact lenses. There's nothing preventing them from being provided as disposables which BTW are only cheaper to produce by virtue of leaving out some finishing steps that retard protein buildup.

Re:Contact lenses are the dealbreaker (1)

Noishkel (3464121) | about 8 months ago | (#45867667)

No, my problem is that I have a hole in my vision from a giant brain tumor... so unless they can put all the information to the left of my vision it's going to be a dicey preposition.

But if the take off them maybe they can be adjusted to fit my needs.

Allow me. (1)

burnttoy (754394) | about 8 months ago | (#45866467)

OK. One last time.

These are small.

But the ones out there are far away.

Small... far away.

Ahh... forget it.

Hang on a second... (1, Informative)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45866545)

a set of contact lenses that are designed to augment a user's vision.

Isn't that what all contact lenses do?

Re:Hang on a second... (2)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 8 months ago | (#45867047)

You misunderstand the word augment, because no they do not.

Re:Hang on a second... (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45867341)

You misunderstand that I was going for cheap laugh with a silly joke.

Re:Hang on a second... (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 8 months ago | (#45867207)

Well some are used solely to change the user eye color.

Re:Hang on a second... (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 8 months ago | (#45867245)

Generally:

Correct = bring sub-standard vision up to normal standards.
Augment = enhance vision above normal standards.

Worst Possible (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 8 months ago | (#45866581)

The worst of both worlds. Glasses and contact lenses. Ugh. Shall we wear a face shield too? Ear protectors? Moon suit?

Re:Worst Possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45868565)

The worst of both worlds. Glasses and contact lenses. Ugh. Shall we wear a face shield too? Ear protectors? Moon suit?

I want my Gundam.

Re:Worst Possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45878213)

Bunny suit. With ears.

Isn't it funny? (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 8 months ago | (#45866585)

How products like this barrel forward without a smidgen of evidence that anyone wants them?

First guy gets caught taking naughty pictures with these (or any other wearable) at a shopping mall and they are over forever. The over-under on that is about four minutes.

Could we maybe take all the money being wasted on this crap and go back to having a software industry again?

Re:Isn't it funny? (2)

jcochran (309950) | about 8 months ago | (#45866699)

I'm gonna assume you didn't bother to actually read the article. The prototype does not include a camera. I will admit that the possibility of a camera being added in the future exists, but as currently designed, no camera.

I want. (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#45866929)

Now.

That's neat and all (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 months ago | (#45866969)

but do they have anything (under $1000) for those of us who don't wear contacts?

Laser directly on your retina? (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 8 months ago | (#45866995)

I remember someone telling me a story of a student that put a small laser on his glasses, that would shoot light directly on his retina, in order to produce an image. He used that to cheat on tests.

I always wondered if it was true.

It sounds like a CRT, only your retina is the surface where the scan-lines are produced.

Re:Laser directly on your retina? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45872083)

Old technology. Microvision had laser HMDs in the early 2000s, for example. They're big and bulky devices, though; nobody's been able to shrink them down enough to make them viable.

Full HUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45867237)

I really like the idea of a HUD displaying time and other pertinent information, but i hate the idea of cameras being involved, which is why i don't care for google glass.

I didn't read this article (like most here), but I don't really like the idea of contacts for this HUD mostly because I hate things touching my eyes. If a system could be developed that displayed a HUD over prescription lenses or sun glasses, I'd be all over it.

OB Joke... (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#45867465)

I really like the idea of a HUD displaying time and other pertinent information

Give me your jacket, your boots and your sunglasses.

Rainbow's End (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 8 months ago | (#45868397)

Vernor Vinge wrote an entertaining book [wikipedia.org] based around this technology.

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