Smart Contacts are the Future of High-Tech Wearables
Wearable smart devices are still a tech that is in its infancy, but the future has big plans for this type of technology. The idea of smart glasses has been around for quite some time, with companies like Google and Dell working on prototypes that hope to revolutionize the way we interact with the digital world. But what if we look further than smart glasses? Enter: smart contacts.
While they totally sound like science-fiction, tech companies are already looking towards the future to develop the world’s first commercially viable smart contacts. These nifty devices would be capable of vastly improving vision, having digital overlays of the physical world, and even track your health through tiny specialized sensors.
While incredibly delicate, the human eye is an ideal place to overlay technology. Smart contacts would be easy to insert or remove, have access to the body’s internal chemistry, and would also be able to harvest energy from both light and the mechanical movement of blinking.
Augmented and mixed reality is the next frontier when it comes to how we interact with the digital world. Using smart contacts to achieve this ability would free up users’ hands, allowing seamless interactions with other digital mediums. Already, Samsung and Sony have submitted patents for smart contacts that would accomplish this.
Samsung’s patent includes a tiny, smart contact lens that would have a miniature display directly projected onto the user’s eye. The contacts would allow users to control devices with eye movements and beam photos and videos into the wearer’s eyes.
Sony’s patent takes it a step further, implementing photo capturing capabilities into the contacts themselves. Powered by specialized sensors, the contacts would contain all the necessary parts of a digital camera, including auto-focusing lens, CPU, and even on-board storage, allowing the user to snap photos and record videos all through their line of sight.
Smart contacts also have quite a bit of potential when it comes to assisting people living with medical conditions. Back in 2014, Google announced it was developing a contact lens that would contain a miniaturized glucose sensor so patients living with diabetes can seamlessly measure and track their blood glucose levels. Columbia University researchers are working on a smart contact lens that monitors a patient’s glaucoma 24 hours a day, giving doctors the necessary information to handle how the disease progresses.
The idea of smart contacts sounds far-off, but in reality, they are likely to be commercially available within the next decade. It is probable that the medical-related smart contact models will be the first on the market, but commercial models will not be far behind. If this technology takes off, the possibilities are endless, making the future of wearables quite exciting.