Someday We May Be Surfing With Our Eyes Closed

(University Of Washington)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Move over, Bionic Man. Engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle have come up with a nanotech device that Steve Austin would have loved: a contact lens that displays images, letting a person surf the Web, read e-mail, scan a spreadsheet or play a video game, all without using a computer screen.

The lens has not undergone human trials, but it has been tested on rabbits for up to 20 minutes without ill effects.

Among the uses that Babak Parviz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the university and one of the inventors, imagines for the lens: Pilots and drivers could keep track of their speed and direction without looking at an instrument panel.

Parviz and his team are also exploring applications that could monitor a person's health. Integrating biosensors into the lens, for example, could allow a biochemical sampling of cells on the eye's surface. "If we analyze what is occurring on the corneal surface, we get an idea about what is happening inside the body without even collecting a blood sample," he explained.

-- Ranit Mishori

© 2008 The Washington Post Company