One day you may not have to rely on holding your mobile phone in front of your face to get the benefits of augmented reality – you’ll get online information about the world around you projected straight onto your eyes via contact lenses.
As The New Scientist reports, AR-enabled contacts are being tested on rabbits (without harm) as a step towards opening them up for human use.
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Sadly, rabbits aren’t getting up-to-the-minute reports on the location of the nearest carrots quite yet, as the current lenses on have a display resolution of just one pixel, but in time we could be using such devices for navigation directions, displaying the latest news headlines, our emails – maybe even video (although that might be a little unsafe in a crowded street).
The US and Finnish team at the University of Washington in Seattle say that the contact lens display is powered by a remote radiofrequency transmitter. A 5mm-long antenna printed on the lens receives gigahertz-range radio-frequency energy from a transmitter ten centimeters from the lens. This means that there’s not exactly great range on these things yet, although it’s perhaps easy to imagine such lenses being powered remotely from your mobile phone’s battery, perhaps.
So, we’re a long way off having the Internet projected onto our eyelids, but maybe not that far.