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Contact lenses could zoom, thanks to leftover 3DTV technology

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zoom in contact lens via optical society
zoom in contact lens via optical society

A DARPA-funded project has built contact lenses that can zoom in and out in to aid those with degrading eyesight. A group of researchers — from the UC San Diego and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) — said in a report that it has built a 2.8x zoom contact lens that could eventually fit on human eyes. The group's telescopic lens currently relies on a set of 3D glasses from a Samsung TV to activate the lens' zooming effect. Eventually, the researchers said, they want to build a lens that wouldn't rely on such glasses to operate.

There are a few other kinks to be worked out as well. The current prototype lens — which measures eight millimeters in diameter, and one millimeter thick — is made of hard plastic, which makes it too rigid for the human eye. The lens hasn't been tested out on a human being, but rather, a replica eye that is the same size as a human's. The next step, the group said in its report, is to build a prototype lens out of suitable materials and to improve contrast and image quality. While the zooming contact lens isn't a fully-finished product, the group noted that it will serve as the basis for ongoing research — a first step toward a zoom lens for your eyeball.