Tired of having eyeballs with fixed focal lengths? Scientists have developed new telescopic contact lenses and glasses that can give your eyes 2.8x zoom with a simple wink of the eye.
The prototypes, developed by researchers at EPFL in Switzerland, are designed to provide enhanced vision for the estimated 285 million visually impaired people worldwide.
Each of the contact lenses gives a 2.8x zoom boost using a “thin reflective telescope” embedded into the 1.55mm thick lens. Small mirrors bounce light around, magnifying the view for the wearer.
In addition to the fixed focal length contact lenses, the scientists have also created a pair of glasses that, when worn with the contacts, allow for variable focal length vision.
The glasses use special light polarizing technology to switch the contacts between normal and telephoto mode with a wink of the wearer’s eye. Winking the right eye switches to 2.8x zoom mode, and winking the left eye restores normal 1x vision.
Scientists are currently working on improving the wearability and optical image quality of these special contacts and glasses.
Image credits: Header photograph by Eric Tremblay and Joe Ford. Courtesy of EPFL.