Imagine: a glucose monitor for diabetics directly on the eye. Cholesterol checking
or infection detection. Blood screening available
anytime. Even a computer display.
Health monitoring contact lens on a
rabbit's eye. Picture courtesy of University of Washington
This is the vision of
Babak Parviz, an innovation professor and researcher at the
University of Washington.
During his presentation, "What if your contact lenses could show you
images?" at the August colloquium at the NASA Langley Reid
Conference Center, Parviz explained new technology being developed
that someday will be integrated into devices millions use now to
avoid wearing glasses.
"With our expertise, which is in building really tiny devices, we
are interested in turning a contact lens into a functional system
that does a lot more than just improve vision," Parviz said.
"A lot of people may not know that the surface of the eye is covered
by live cells," Parviz said of the initial push toward biomedical
monitoring. "Every time that you see something, light from the
outside is going through live cells of your body to reach the retina
in your eye."
Sensors on the contact lenses could monitor the body chemistry and
gather information that will determine the health status of the
"In a sense, you can monitor what happens in the body without going
inside," Parviz said.
|Babak Parviz, leads
research at the University of Washington, developing
multiple uses for contact lenses. Photo courtesy of
Information display is in the more distant future. For example, it's
possible that a computer screen will be part of a contact lens,
rather than a person depending on a display on a computer monitor or
a smart phone.
The ultimate goal is to produce an energy-efficient, lightweight,
non-intrusive device that is affordable, disposable and works
This is by no means a simple task.
"It's absolutely not science fiction anymore," Parviz said. "We are
talking about constructing very sophisticated contact lenses."
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