Sony’s Smart Contact Lens Will Blow Your Mind Away!

Contact lens technology that may take Wearables tech, a whole quantum leap forward!

Sony’s patented smart contact lens technology seems straight out of sci-fi movie!

A diminutive little device, but unbelievably capable, Sony seems to have cracked many difficult stumblers (that larger brands hadn’t been able to, so far), to come up with something that is as scary as it is exciting.

A contact lens that can be worn as a regular lens is, but it comes with the ability to click photos and record videos, instantly play them back, store them internally and even transmit them to a nearby device. All in transparent, practically invisible form.

Seven inventors at the tech pioneer’s Japan office, are the brains behind the new patent, through which, Sony is going to be able to muscle it’s way into a game that so far featured players as big as Samsung and Google, and other independent intelligent minds working in different nooks and corners of the world.

The contact lens from Sony will come with the functionality of clicking photos and videos with auto focus and zoom capability, along with the ability to store them internally and play them back.

To achieve this the lens will use a combination of sensors — a piezoelectric sensor, infrared sensor and an acceleration sensor. Working in conjunction, these small electronic sensors will measure changes in pressure, temperature, acceleration and force, which the device will measure and translate into control instructions.

There’s more: the contact lens could also be equipped with gyroscope technology to correct tilted images, get rid of blur images, and control aperture.

Got your attention yet?

As exciting as it sounds, we must pause and consider the challenges and the triumph of engineering this little busybody.
 The lens will be an intricate assembly of many delicate components like the main control unit, a wireless communication processing control unit, image pick-up lens and unit, antenna, sensors and a storage unit.

Once again, all that in a nearly transparent, near-invisible form! Amazing!!

The piezoelectric sensors will convert the mechanical energy from movement-nuances like pressure and force of a movement, into electrical energy which will be used to trigger and operate the lens’ functionality.

The most important part though, is controlling the lens, with no outwardly visible physical control. Here’s another mind bending achievement — the patent states that the smart sensors embedded in the lens are able to differentiate between an involuntary blink and a deliberate blink.
 “It is known that a time period of usual blinking is usually 0.2 seconds to 0.4 seconds, and therefore it can be said that, in the case where the time period of blinking exceeds 0.5 seconds, the blinking is conscious blinking that is different from usual blinking (unconscious blinking)”.

Now, let me explain how will the lens work in real life.

The wearer’s eye movements will be used to guide and operate the lens as described in the patent. The patent elaborates, “the time period of the eyelid closure is sensed in accordance with output from a piezoelectric sensor provided in the lens unit“. The display control unit thus, will control the display direction of the captured image according to the tilt of the lens unit sensed by the tilt sensor.

An image pickup unit is configured to capture an image of a subject which is then stored temporarily in the storage medium; the integrated transmission unit will then transmit the captured image to an external device.

Power you ask? Well, the lens will not derive power from batteries. The power source could be a hybrid of power being generated using movement and electromagnetic conduction (where power can be drawn via radio waves or electromagnetic field resonance).

Apart from Samsung (who have patented a smart lens that can project images directly into the user’s eye), Google’s been in the smart contact lens Frey too — it’s been actively working on it’s research around contact lenses that are capable of detecting the wearer’s blood sugar levels, designed to help diabetes patients.
 Taking the research further, Google filed a patent application, published earlier this month, devising contact lenses that could be injected directly into the eyes of the users!

Thus it’s safe to summarise that research around contact- and wearable-lenses is clearly gaining momentum. Time will soon tell, what technology or functionality takes traction and comes out of the labs to the consumers. This innovation will also help augmented reality to take a quantum leap forward — and that may explain the ever-growing interest in this category of products.

Will leave you with one for the road — Patent Literature 2 from Sony proposes a thin image display device in which a display unit and a lens array unit are integrally provided on a curved surface, the thin image display device being shaped to be fully wearable on an eye such as a contact lens. So Sony’s very serious about this one!

I know all this sounds very complicated and perhaps a little scary (to have a powered gizmo sitting on your cornea) — but think about it, it’s the same reservation that must’ve been felt (and later conquered) by regular contact lenses too. So, there is hope, and given the popularity of contact lenses and ever improving nano technology, this could well be a reality soon.

Originally published at Chip-Monks.