Bionic upgrade of the week: the 2.8x zoom telescopic contact lens

contact lens

Modern medicine’s amazing, and cyborg upgrades are even better. While there’s been a lot of expensive and invasive body modifications of late, this special contact lens with 3X zoom is the best example of a practical solution to a common issue: macular degeneration, a condition that slowly strips away sight and chiefly affects adults over 50. ExtremeTech details the complex procedure which we’ll do our best to translate into normal english for you, care of this snazzy slide show.

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Anatomy Of Eye And Lens

If you’re wondering how the lens works, here’s the answer: once the lens is inserted onto the surface of the eye like any normal contact lens, the user equips a pair of 3D TV glasses. When activated, the glasses work in conjunction with the polarized surface of the lens to activate the magnified vision.

The Lens In Action

The 1.17mm thin lens is a major step up from previous models. These included telescoping spectacles, a surgically implanted lens and an older version of the 2.8x zoom lens that was 4.41mm thick (which is said to be “too thick for real world use.”

The Lens Itself

An international research team lead by scientists from the University of California and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have combined forces to create the world’s first telescopic lens. It's similar to a 100mm DSLR lens and is said to give “eagle eye-like vision”.

Contact Lens

It comes down to comfort as well, something older contact lens infused with the new technology cannot provide. Older lenses are made with a gas-impermeable polymer (it’s airtight when plopped onto the eye), the zoomable contact lens will be made from a gas permeable polymer, a material most modern contact lens are created with. This technology is still under heavy research and development, but who’s to say that we won’t be zooming into text, faces and grumpy cats in the near future.

Read the full paper, “Switchable telescopic contact lens” here.

Slideshow images via

Top image by maikel_nai via 

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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