Step aside Google Glass

A South Korean team reaches milestone for a wearable computer on a contact lens.

In the past year Google Glass has been taking the world of wearable computing by storm. However, for some people Google Glass’s design is too intrusive and, let’s be honest, downright dorky.  To reduce the dork-factor of wearable computing and thereby spread the technology across the globe, researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology and Samsung have created a simple display mounted on a contact lens.

To create this device, Jang-Ung Park and his team attached a LED to an everyday soft contact lens and wired it by using their own highly conductive mix of grapheme and silver nanowires. To test their lens, Park’s team applied the lens to rabbit’s eyes – which are about the same size as a human – and found that their material caused no irritation whatsoever.

While the current configuration of Park’s contact lens could hardly be called a display, let alone a computer, (the lens only displays one pixel) the development of a conductive material that can be applied to a soft contact lens without causing eye irritation is breakthrough in itself.

Although Park’s recent success is something to celebrate, the chemical engineer isn’t one to rest on his laurels. “Our goal is to make a wearable contact-lens display that can do all the things Google Glass can do,” said Park.

Between the Ulsan team’s prototype and Google Glass’s finished product there’s a gulf of research and design to be tackled. However, the South Korean team has made an important advance towards creating wearable computers that may be social acceptable and comfortable as well.  

Source: Technology Review

Images Courtesy of Technology Review