Scientists from the University of California San Diego have created a robotic lens that is controlled by eye movements and can zoom in and out by blinking twice, as reported by Cnet.
Most soft robots are controlled manually or pre-programmed but these robotics lenses can mimic the natural electric signals in the human eye that are active even when the eye is closed. Researchers from the California University harnessed these natural electric signals and integrated them in the lens to be controlled by eye movements.
To explain this in simple terms, the scientists measured the electrooculographic signals created when eyes make specific movements that include up, down, left, right, blink, double blink and generated a soft bio-mimetic lens that responded directly to those electric impulses. The lens developed now have the ability to change its focal length depending on the signals generated.
Most importantly, the lens even works whether the user can see or not. The lens operation does not depend on the quality of sight, but the electricity produced by specific movements. Lead researcher Shengyang Kai said, “Even if your eye can not see anything, many people can still pass the eyeballs and generate this electro-oculographic signal”.
The researchers have created this technology because they believe it can be used in visual prostheses, remotely operated robotics, and adjustable glasses in the future.
It is not the first time someone has tried to develop smart lenses. Previously, the search giant Google initiated a project called Google contact lens in 2014. It was aimed at creating contact lenses that can identify the glucose level from people’s tears. But, after four years the company in 2018 announced that it has discontinued the project.
Smart lens technology is the future, but to develop such tech is a difficult task. Many companies have been making an attempt to develop this technology one of which is Johnson & Johnson, which back in 2018 developed Acuvue Oasys contact lenses with Transition Light Intelligent Technology that get darker in the sun when they are exposed to sunlight.
Johnson & Johnson claimed that these lenses will basically be invisible on people with dark eyes, and slightly visible on people with light eyes. These lenses can be worn for daily up to 14 hours without getting teary eyes.