Researchers with Ghent University's Centre of Microsystems Technology, CMST for short, have developed an LCD-based contact lens display. The LCD-based contact lens offers advantages over its LED-based counterparts, allowing the full display surface to be utilized. There's a video of the device available after the break.
With LCD-based contact lens displays, a variety of pixel sizes and quantities can be used, and because the entire display surface is utilized, the contact display can serve more functions, such as working as sunglasses. The current prototype is rudimentary, displaying simple patterns, such as the dollar sign visible in the image above. With time, however, as the technology is refined, the contact lens will be able to perform more actions, such as providing adjustable eye color.
The project's main researcher Jelle De Smet offered this statement. "Normally, flexible displays using liquid crystal cells are not designed to be formed into a new shape, especially not a spherical one. Thus, the main challenge was to create a very thin, spherically curved substrate with active layers that could withstand the extreme molding processes ... By using new kinds of conductive polymers and integrating them into a smooth spherical cell, we were able to fabricate a new LCD-based contact lens display."
Bringing a bit more of a science fiction feel into the equation is also the suggestion that at some point, the contact lens display can also be used to superimpose images into the wearer's vision. Both cosmetic and medical functions can, theoretically, be provided by the LCD-based contact lens display with later prototypes. For now, researchers are working on refining the technology and while giving us a glimpse into what the future.
[via Universiteit Gent]