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Tiny LED makes bionic contact lenses realistic

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

The researchers tested the safety of a prototype device tested in the eye of a rabbit.

At the moment, the contact lens device contains only a single pixel of information, but the researchers say it is a proof of the concept that the device could be worn by a person. Eventually it could display short emails and other messages directly before a wearers eyes.  

Lens contains single pixel of information (Photo Credit: University of Washington)

“This is the first time we have been able to wirelessly power and control the display in a live eye,” said Babak Parviz, an author and UW associate professor of electrical engineering. Among his coauthors are Brian Otis, associate professor of electrical engineering, and Andrew Lingley, a graduate student.

The researchers findings were published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

Building the lenses required saw researchers make circuits from metal only a few nanometers thick, about one-thousandth of a human hair. They built light-emitting diodes one-third of a millimeter in diameter. And to help focus the images, the researchers made arrays of tiny lenses that were put into the contacts.

The contact lens has an antenna to take power from an external source, as well as an integrated circuit to store this energy and transfer it to a transparent sapphire chip containing a single blue LED.

The University of Washington researchers collaborated with a group at Aalto University in Finland. Other authors from the UW are Yudo Liao and Ramin Mirjalili, both former graduate students, and Tueng Shen, an associate professor of both ophthalmology and bioengineering.

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www.washington.edu

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