Active contact lenses are integrated with micro-fabricated electronic devices and biosensors. Apart from correcting vision they can also act as your very own personalized television, mobile phone and gaming console. They can also be used to track biological parameters with the help of the integrated biosensors.
Once upon a time people used to imagine a cordless, hand held device, which can connect them to the world. We all know that we have achieved much more than that. Smartphones are no imagination now; rather they are considered child play. There is a high possibility that in the near future, there may be miniscule devices that can be attached to our body and we can remotely control their activity. They can act as a smartphone, your own personalized television, gaming console, bioactivity monitor, health tracker and hopefully more than that. One such device i.e. active contact lenses have already been manufactured and will be mass marketed in the very near future.
Contact Lenses Are Now More Than Just Visual Aids
Contact lenses are now-a-days made up of biocompatible polymer/hydrogel based gas permeable materials. They are conventionally used to correct vision in those who require. But that was what used to happen before researchers started experimenting with expanding the horizons of contact lenses. They have been trying to integrate micro- or nano- based electronic and photonic devices, and biosensors in the soft contact lenses to multiply the applicability and usability of these contact lenses in the field of electronic communication, entertainment, health monitoring and treatment.
Integration of electronic devices
Contact lenses that have integrated see through display system, which can be monitored remotely, may find applications in gaming and enhancing sensory responses in hearing impaired individuals. They may altogether replace the mobile phones and above all help in enhancing and correcting vision by superimposing computer generated rectified images of the outside world.
Functioning as potential Biosensors
The contact lenses are directly in contact with tear film of our eyes and the tears carry loads of clinically relevant medical information e.g. blood glucose levels. So, if the contact lenses can be integrated with biosensors that can directly sense the blood glucose levels in the tears and record the information in an externally controlled device, then it will abolish the need for using glucometers.
A cost effective self-assembly technology is required to integrate various devices and functions into these contact lenses. As of today, these contact lenses are made on experimental basis and scientists are working on to reduce the total cost of production to make it affordable for one and all.
Harvey Ho, Ehsan Saeedi, Samuel S. Kim, Tueng Shen, Babak A. Parviz, Contact Lens With Integrated Inorganic Semiconductor Devices,Proc. 21st IEEE Int'l Conf. on MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS)403-406, pp. 13-17, 2008.
Ali, Zainab T., et al. "Google Smart Contact Lens Monitoring Diabetes from Tears." International Journal of Engineering Science 2715 (2016).