Augmented reality: a technology whose time has come
Picture this: you’re sightseeing in London and stop at the Houses of Parliament. You want to know more about its history, where you can get a cup of tea and you need to find out how the Tube is running before you continue your tour.
“Augmented reality goggles would be one obvious solution,” says Pearson. “But already the technology is moving beyond that. Within the next few years, it’s possible that scientists will have created a contact lens that also doubles as a nano display, literally allowing us to view an augmented reality through our own eyes.”
Researchers at the University of Washington have already created a prototype contact lens and the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on contact-lens displays that could provide battlefield combat data.
In this lens concept, an antenna at the periphery collects incoming RF energy from a separate portable transmitter. Power-conversion circuitry provides DC power to other parts of the system and sends instructions to the display control circuit. The display, at the center, might consist of LEDs, which would turn on and off, or LCD-like elements, whose transparency would be modulated by the control circuit. An energy-storage module, perhaps a large capacitor, is connected to a solar cell, which could provide a boost to the lens. A biosensor samples the surface of the cornea, performs an analysis, and provides data to the telecommunication module to transmit to an external computer.