Wednesday, 06 Feb, 2008 Science
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Bionic Lens to Create Virtual Vision

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Scientists created a bionic contact lens that can superimpose computer image onto person's vision. The new contact lens has a virtual display with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.

Babak Parviz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle and his team developed a contact lens, using microfabrication and self-assembly methods that are usually used to produce semiconductor chips.

Scientists manged to introduce the tiny layers of metal in a circuit pattern, being only few nanometers thick on PET(polyethylene terephthalate) material. In order to incorporate LEDs (light-emitting diodes) they made small openings on the surface of the lens to create an image on the back of the retina, thus making the wearer to see the world differently. The lens was covered with harmless material to be worn on eyes like a common contact lens.

Bionic vision can soon replace other devices like video cameras. Engineers said that future can hold a lot of possibilities of using the bionic lens by drivers and pilots who can keep track of route, weather and vehicle status informationusing virtual display on their eyes.

Bionic lens can soon be used by computer games players to improve their motions and simply as a tiny device to check a person's health condition and transmit this data to a computer.

The lenses were already tested on rabbits who wore them for up to 20 minutes and no side effects had been noticed yet.

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