One of the Google Glass engineers gave a talk at the Google-hosted Solve For X event earlier this year, before Google even revealed Project Glass. He talked about building microsystems on the eye. For some reason, even after the unveiling of Project Glass, this didn’t get a whole lot of attention.
Basically, he talked about putting devices in contact lenses. Envision Google Glass without the glass (surely a much more fashionable choice). I highly recommend watching his presentation if you want a glimpse of the future.
But we already covered this. Why do I bring this up now? Well, that’s because there are new reports about scientists in Belgium that have built an LCD screen into a contact lens called The Ghent. It comes from researchers at Imec and UGent. Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson writes:
All the Ghent lense does is flash a dollar sign – a joke about what happens to the eyes of cartoon characters when they think of a money-making scheme.
Ghent researchers imagine that in the near future, lenses like they one they’ve built will be able to change the color of the wearer’s eye, work as sunglasses, or serve a medical purpose like protecting a damaged iris from bright light.
“Normally, flexible displays using liquid crystal cells are not designed to be formed into a new shape, especially not a spherical one. Thus, the main challenge was to create a very thin, spherically curved substrate with active layers that could withstand the extreme molding processes,” said Jelle De Smet, the main researcher on the project. “Moreover, since we had to use very thin polymer films, their influence on the smoothness of the display had to be studied in detail. By using new kinds of conductive polymers and integrating them into a smooth spherical cell, we were able to fabricate a new LCD-based contact lens display.”
So, this technology is getting closer. Google Glass is expected to see availability next year. How long until Google gets the contact lens form to consumers?