Contact Lens Prototype Zooms in When You Blink Twice

The soft biometric lens changes its focal length by tracking specific eye movements and reacting.
Contact Lens Prototype Zooms in When You Blink Twice
Image credit: Yuichiro Chino | Getty Images

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Senior Editor
2 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag

If you wear contact lenses, but would love for them to be more useful, your wish may come true in a few years. Researchers have created a new lens that can zoom in when you blink your eye twice.

As CNET reports, researchers at the University of California San Diego developed a soft biometric lens that can detect electrooculographic signals. Our eyes generate these signals when moving, be that the eye moving in all directions within its socket or the simple act of blinking. It's also possible to differentiate between the type of movement detected and the number of blinks.

The new lens is set up to detect a double blink and respond by changing its focal point between two states: normal and zoomed in. It means blinking twice would allow wearers to focus in on small text they otherwise would struggle to see, for example. Another couple of blinks and they return to their more natural state of vision.

Wearing such lenses could easily backfire if you accidentally blink twice without meaning to, which would be especially dangerous while driving or doing some other task that requires focus. However, it's useful and wearers would soon learn to control the lenses with blinks (and quickly revert them back to normal vision if necessary). It's also important to point out the lens works regardless of whether the eye can see or not because it's purely triggered by movement signals.

There's no word on when these lenses will be available to use; it could be several years. The research team talks about using them in remotely operated robotics, so that sounds likely to be the first use case followed by adjustable glasses, visual prosthesis, and even an artificial eye eventually.

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