Although it might sound like something from a science fiction novel, scientists at the University of Washington are working on Â solar powered contact lenses with transparent LEDs embedded onto the lens. This technology could be applied in countless ways, from health monitoring to text translation right in front of the wearer’s eyes.
In 2006, a team at SKD designed a very similar concept for our “Cautionary Visions” project. Analyzing current trends in technology and popular culture, from emerging demands for constant connection to the increasingly blurred boundaries between natural and artificial, the designers imagined the dark alleys down which these trends could take us.
One of the results was an “Assisted Living Contact Lens” that would project helpful information, such as the calorie count for a chocolate scone, or a GPS map overlay locating the nearest gyms.
Now it seems like our idea might become a reality. And the more I think about it, the more it seems like this concept could be the new Bluetooth headset.
The small wireless headsets that were once novelties have now become the norm. This is the process that happens once a new technology proves its relevance in users’ lives.
Bluetooth has been a massive benefit to the business world–the mobility allows constant communication with clients and its hands-free operation increases efficiency and allows for easier multi-tasking. And fortunately, most headsets have been implemented in ways that meet user needs for fit, comfort and functionality.
Which takes me back to the Smart Lens. Since the Assisted Living Contact Lens was conceived, a slough of new Smart Phones have engendered a populace absorbed in palm-sized screens and created a widespread desire for on-demand information. In today’s context, a Smart Lens sounds more convenient than creepy. Personally, I have a terrible memory for names. I might appreciate a contact lens that could provide labels over people’s heads when I walked into a room or probably their Status updated on Facebook.
So if you see me gazing off into a distant world of information that only I can see, you may have fun wondering, “Crazy? Or contact lens?”…until you get your own.