Virtual reality and “bionic contact lenses” have long been a hot topic of science fiction, fantasy, and futurists. Were you to go back just fifteen years ago, nobody would have ever thought that true virtual reality would be possible within the next millenium. Of course, nobody at that time would have thought that their cellular phones would be faster than their current personal computers for both processing as well as internet browsing.
Just over twenty five years ago, Acuvue was on the cutting edge of technology with the first daily disposable contact lens, and twenty five years later, we’re making advances on augmented reality contacts and glasses.
Within the last few months, a lot of buzz has been circulating about augmented reality contact lenses, which can display images directly on your eye, while still allowing clear distance vision. The applications would seem to be endless for such advanced technology, and assuming the rapid advance technology has made within just the last decade, it wouldn’t be that over the top to think that virtual reality could be “real” within the next decade.
Michio Kaku Comments on Futuristic Virtual Reality Contacts
For years, air-force pilots have worn augmented reality displays, known better as a “HUD” display, or head’s up display. These displays display visual information critical to flying fighter jets right onto their visors. While the HUD is advanced, it’s not without it’s limitations, most important being the lack of an ability for a pilot to focus on the visual display as well as distance viewing at the same time.
New Tech Breakthrough: Augmented Reality Lens
Recently, technology company Innovega has pioneered a hybrid contact lens and glasses display that allows augmented reality vision. By using a lens (with a filter) which are attached to a pair of glasses, they allow one to focus on distance viewing while simultaneously allowing you to focus on graphics displayed directly on your eye. This lens technology far surpasses what our air-force pilots use, and would seem to be directly out of a science fiction blockbuster.
While this certainly isn’t the end product of virtual reality contacts, it’s a major step towards that goal, and the United States Government apparently agrees after the pentagon officially placed an order for Innovega’s iOptik lens, which was funded partially by the US department of defense.
Innovega Discusses Virtual Reality Contact Lenses
These lenses could more or less put computers directly in our eye-sight, essentially redefining how we currently refer to “computer glasses“. Additional to Innovega, Google has publicized a prototype pair of glasses that augment reality in a similar way, albeit without the use of contact lenses, and only using glasses.
Would You Wear Virtual Reality Glasses?
While there is no doubt technological advances have made some amazing leaps within recent years, many question how long it would take for an item like this to become popular. Not only would the initial prices likely be way out of reach of the average consumer, but many already have expressed concerns over the overly “plugged in” nature of our society. Computer and internet addiction is a real problem for certain individuals, and many people already would admit to spending too much time online as a distraction.
We’re happy at AC Lens to bring standard contact lenses, reading glasses and eyeglasses to our customers, but it would certainly be a unique change in the industry were virtual reality contacts ever to become popular, as it would blend aspects of the technology industry with aspects of the contact lens and eye-care industry. The question isn’t a matter of whether this will ever happen, but rather when virtual reality will actually become accessible for the average joe.
We Want to Hear From You!
What do you think of the iOptik Lens? Were it safe to use, would you consider wearing it for daily use? Is this over the top? Is this the future? Is this bad for people? We’re interested to hear your thoughts!!