Smart Contact Lenses Are Here — And What We Can Do With Them Is Amazing
Are you ready for superhuman vision? The smart contact lenses of the future are coming soon, and wait till you see what we can do with this technology.
This isn't the first time a major tech company toyed with the idea of capitalizing on our peepers — Google also introduced a smart contact lens project in early 2014 and was awarded a patent for a solar-powered lens in 2015. The next wave of smart lenses might be years away, but their potential is undeniable.
Allow us to paint a picture for you. You won't be able to look away.
Easier health tracking
A doctor in your eyeball is better than a doctor in your pocket. As the onslaught of activity trackers proves, we love quantifying our health — but our current technology is too limited.
Our smartphones and wearables can beep, buzz and barrage us with notifications about our steps and heart rate. A microchip and sensor in your eyeball, on the other hand, could measure glucose and lacryglobin levels, monitoring not only our blood sugar but also the remission of certain cancers, Technology Review reported.
Thomas Quinn, head of the American Optometric Association's contact lens and cornea section, also told Technology Review that he sees drug delivery as another application for these smart lenses. They could dispense medication directly into the eye, making uncomfortable eye drops a thing of the past.
Throw away your reading glasses
Smart contact lenses may be able to autofocus, Technology Review reported, meaning the lens' shape would adjust automatically depending on where the eye is looking.
They'll render wearables useless
Smart lenses could kill the smartwatch. Wearables promised to untether us from our phones by sending us notifications we need while on the go. The reality is, they just become extra gadgets to lug around. With a built-in camera, sensors and antenna, a smart contact lens leaves these cumbersome, unstylish wearables redundant.
No need to gaze into the soft glow of your wrist candy: You can simply use eye movements to control your smart contact lens, pulling up information needed in your field of view, thanks to a display that can project images into your eyes.
Carrying around your ID will seem antiquated
Why rummage through your bag for your ID when the bouncer at the bar can just look at your mug to pull up your info?
A patent recently awarded to Google for a solar-powered contact lens states, "Retinal analysis of a user can be performed and an optical signal transmitted in response to an authentication request."
In other words, identities can be verified with a simple stare-down.
Real-time face scanning
We might start looking for dates IRL again. Speaking of looking into someone else's eyes, smart contact lenses lend themselves to a more IRL approach to communication. This one is a bit of stretch, not because the tech is far-fetched — it already exists — but because of privacy concerns.
However, if these smart contact lenses did come equipped with facial recognition tech, imagine being able to glance at a person in front of you and pull up his name, birthday and Facebook profile. If people opt into apps that support facial recognition tech, you could swipe right in real life with the blink of an eye. You could walk into the club and sweep a room to see who's DTBS (down to be scanned) — and then, whether or not he's single and lives within a short cab ride from your neighborhood.
The flirty future of hands-free photography
Don't blush. It's not a come-hither wink, it's even creepier — a covert photograph. The Samsung patent revealed that the smart contact lens could take hands-free photos through eye movements or a Google Glass-esque wink, Newsweek reported. So if you see a horde of foodies manically twitching at their dishes, they're probably just trying to get the perfect photo. What a time!