Contact lenses could display emails

Fancy lenses could be used to deliver short messages in Torchwood style

November 22, 2011
Gwen Torchwood

We’ve seen them in Terminator. We’ve seen them in Torchwood. And we might well see them in real life soon. Well, in the near-ish future at any rate.

So what exactly are we talking about? Contact lenses, specifically fancy ones which can display content quite literally right before your very eyes.

Currently scientists at Washington University have developed a pair of lenses which can display a single pixel, but this could easily be developed to multiple pixels which should be able to display short messages such as emails.

Indeed they’d be perfect for tweets. The technology is reminiscent of that seen in Torchwood, where lead female Gwen wears lenses which can receive messages from other agents tapping away on a computer (like “Stop over-acting”).

Initial tests which have used animals have apparently gone without a hitch and the scientists reckon the lenses are perfectly safe to use. The lenses have been specially modified so they can be focused on by the eye at such a short distance away.

They could also be used to hook up with other devices, such as a games console, providing a HUD in front of your eyes. Or indeed for drivers, a BBC report suggests, with the likes of directions overlaid.

Although we can imagine this causing one or two worries when it comes to in-car safety, with drivers potentially being distracted.

There are also potential usages for hooking such lenses up to bio-sensors to provide feedback from the body, such as glucose levels.

Such applications are no doubt a long way off, but the display of short messages might not be.


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