'Game changing' breakthrough turns contact lenses into tiny computer screens

contact lens

In humanity's efforts to put screens in, on and around everything, it's fair to say some ideas have made a lot more sense than others. Take this mirror, a perfect example of where the added technology could be useful in our daily lives. Google Glass, on the other hand, overestimated our desire to look like a crap Terminator.

But contact lenses make a lot more sense, and scientists at the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute have found a way to make it happen.

Using polymer film coating that conducts electricity, researchers have found it is possible to build very small electric circuits on the lens, which would allow it to double up as a screen.

The breakthrough is the result of two years of work and a decade of wider research, explains Phys. Associate Professor Drew Evans described it as a "game "changer".


"We're talking about anything from a simple sensor that can measure the amount of glucose in your blood through to actually creating electronic displays," he said, "so rather than having something like a pair of glasses that's acting like a computer, you can actually generate images directly on your contact lens."

It's interesting that Evans mentions glucose monitoring, as Alphabet has been working on a lens designed exactly for that.

Alphabet's lens is being carried out by Verily, previously known as Google Life Sciences, but apparently won't provide any wider functionality beyond tracking glucose levels.

But the FII's breakthrough could pave the way for putting Google Glass technology right into our eyes. A contact lens would, in theory, be totally invisible to everyone else, while giving the user a stream of information throughout their day.

The ultimate wearable, then.

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.