Scientists created a pair of contacts that zoom in when you blink

Ever wish your eyes came with a zoom lens? Soon they might.

Scientists at the University of California San Diego have successfully created a pair of contact lenses that zoom in on something when you blink twice. Details about the creation were recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

To create the lens, the scientists measured the signals that are generated when your eyes make specific movements like blinking or moving left or right and created a soft contact lens that responds to the electric impulses your eye makes when it performs those movements. That means the contact knows you’re looking to the left or blinking and can perform a function based on that movement.

The contact lenses created by the scientists will zoom in whenever a person blinks twice in a short period of time. That could be great for quickly seeing a street sign far away, but could also be an unexpected nightmare if you ended up accidentally double blinking while you’re behind the wheel of a car or doing pretty much anything else that requires your vision and quick reaction time. 

While we’re not likely to see a zooming contact lens headed our way anytime soon, the study does open the door to some pretty interesting possibilities for advanced vision technology.

The system developed in the current study has the potential to be used in visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and remotely operated robotics in the future,” researchers suggest in the report detailing the creation. “In addition, because of the biomimetic features of the system, it can also be used as a physical model for visualizing physiological principles, which is important in biology and medicine. According to our knowledge, a soft tunable lens, whose position and focus length can be separately controlled by soft active material, has never been designed and constructed before.”

The contact lenses were made as a proof of concept rather than a commercial product and are designed to merely show what could be possible in the future rather than how the contact’s technology will ultimately be made available to the public.

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