The first autonomous contact lens incorporating a flexible micro-battery


French engineering school IMT Atlantique has recently revealed the first autonomous contact lens what it calls ‘the first stand-alone contact lens with a flexible micro battery’.

This lightweight, automatic, wirelessly connected contact lens is able to provide augmented vision assistance to the user. It also relays visual information wirelessly and is able to work without any bulky external power supply.

And reportedly, The DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is showing interest in the contact lens to augment troops’ visual capabilities in the field. That means the gadget could represent the augmented contact lens that DARPA has spent a decade searching for.

First smart contact lens
First smart contact lens

Storing energy on small scales was the biggest challenge that the team faced during the project. But as per IMT Atlantique, all thanks to the newly developed flexible micro battery, the lens was capable of ‘continuously supplying a light source such as a LED for several hours’.

Jean-Louis de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye, the head of the Optics Department at IMT Atlantique says, “This first project is part of a larger and very ambitious project aimed at creating a new generation of oculometers linked to the emergence of augmented reality helmets that have given rise to new uses (man-machine interfaces, cognitive load analysis, etc.). This opens up huge markets, while at the same time imposing new constraints on precision and integration.”

The team also noted in the press release that ‘graphene-based flexible electronics’ will further enhance the lens capability. This will make it possible to work with transparent materials, which is considered as the biggest advantage in case of the contact lens. Applications could range from assisting surgeons in the operating room to helping out drivers on the road.

This project will involve numerous collaborations, including one with the Institut de la Vision in Paris, for a visual assistance device for the blind, as per the press release.

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