Researchers make telescopic contact lens capable of 2.8x zoom

If you've ever found yourself wishing for the ability to zoom your vision whilst squinting at a sign or object in the distance, you can rejoice – the first telescopic contact lens has been created, and with it the wearer's sight can be boosted 2.8x. What's more, the lens is small enough that it can be worn without discomfort.

The work was done by researchers led by Eric Tremblay of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Joseph Ford of University of California, San Diego. With this latest technology, all previous versions of telescopic vision have been torn asunder: implants, glasses, and thick contact lenses that were too big for someone to reasonably wear.

The lens measures in at 1.17mm in thickness, and works through a series of light bouncing. Light enters via the contact lens' edges and bounces four times on very small mirrors made of aluminum, which function to both remove chromatic aberration and boost the image nearly three times. The light then reaches the outer portion of the retina with the magnified image.

The lenses were developed specifically for individuals affected by macular degeneration, which causes damage to the central part of the retina while usually leaving the edge of the retina in working condition. This portion of the eye can't make out most details, however, reducing vision quality. Because the lenses pushes the light to this outer portion of the retina, individuals with this condition will be able to zoom in on an image, seeing the details the disease rids them of.

The contact lens is made from the same material that older versions of contact lenses were made from, a polymer called PMMA. The final product, which would be made available to the average consumer, will have to be made from the modern contact lens material known as RGP polymer. When in use, the wearer can switch back and forth between regular and zoomed vision.

This is achieved using 3D TV glasses (not to be confused with the red-and-blue 3D glasses used with older 3D technology). The glasses work with a polarizing filter that is on the front of the center portion of the lenses. The glasses reverses the polarization, causing the light bouncing and zoom effect.

SOURCE: Extreme Tech