Current medical science only gives us body scans at one point in time. Babak Parviz discusses his solution to this problem in his SolveForX talk, Continuous Body Monitoring.
Today’s data collection devices, if not in physical contact with the body, are not sending out information. There are possibilities for implanting but our bodies generally react poorly to foreign objects. Parviz’s targeted interface on the human body is the surface of the eye.
Tears exist with much of the same chemical makeup as blood, so contact lenses are a solution to show what is going on inside a patient’s body without actually going inside the body. Contact lenses are used by more than one hundred million people and have existed for decades, giving users a comfortable method of existing with a continuous sensor.
As a receiver the lens could act as a display for the user, with cell phone towers beaming information to a unit in the user’s pocket. An augmented reality application is the most feasible use for a lens receiver. Long term Babak says that screens exist to bring information to the retina, and many screens could be consolidated into one display per human being.
The semiconductor industry is constantly churning out smaller sensors allowing the lenses to collect and disperse information. Some sensors are down to 50 nanometers, approaching the size of a single cell in the body. Using miniaturization technology along with flexible sensor technology Babak is developing the contact lens sensors.
Lenses are being tested now with miniature glucose sensors, antenna and readout circuits. The system can be powered remotely with RF broadcast to wake up, take the measurement and send the data before powering back down. Very small devices consume very small amounts of power, and the entire system can be run with 3 microWatts.