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University of California Scientists Create Contact Lenses That Can Zoom by Blinking Twice

contact lenses

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    A group of scientists at the University of California San Diego recently published a paper detailing the contact lenses they’ve invented that can zoom by blinking twice. 

    In the paper, titled “A Biomimetic Soft Lens Controlled by Electrooculographic Signal,” the scientists went on to detail that unlike the previously developed soft robots, which were “either controlled manually or by prewritten programs,” their current work functions by harnessing the electric current that human eyes make.

    This lens can detect the “electro-oculographic signals generated by eye movements to control the motions and the change of focal length of a biomimetic soft lens,” says in the paper.

    Screenshot via Wiley Online Library

    Scientists created the lens using polymers that expand whenever electric current from the eye is applied into it, Independent reported. It is then controlled by five electrodes that surround the eye that acts as muscle.

    Screenshot via Wiley Online Library

    As reported by Gizmodo, its function can depend on what the user is looking at. For instance, if the wearer of the lens looks down to read a text from the book, the lens would focus on the near object and when the user looks up again, it automatically adjust to view a much wider surrounding. Its sensitivity can even be tuned to make it zoom in just by blinking twice.


    Shengqiang Cai, the lead researcher of the project, explained that even if the person can’t see or has his/her eyes closed, the lens would still function.

    “Even if your eye cannot see anything, many people can still move their eyeball and generate this electro-oculographic signal,” the researcher told New Scientist via Independent.

    The contact lens, which is still prototype, may have the potential to be “used in visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and remotely operated robotics in the future,” the scientists wrote in the published paper.

    Featured images via Wiley Online Library supporting information

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