By Amanda Jensen
Imagine being able to capture a photo of your grandmother’s smile, your significant other just in the right light, or your child’s first steps whilst being able to put a phone down. How? you may ask. Sony, Samsung, Apple, and Google have been developing patents for smart contact lenses with built-in cameras. The contacts most likely will not have any beneficial strength for glasses-wearing individuals.
Samsung and Sony have developed patents which are quite similar in design, however camera placement is different. The camera will be set off to the side of the iris and will not impede the user’s vision. The patent, which can be found online, shows that there are two options for location. One is on the outside edge of the eye, and the other is on the inside edge. Depending on which company eventually makes this possible, there will be many benefits to the device.
In the past Google has developed Google Glass, which looks like something out of a Terminator movie. The camera was meant to assist people in a smartphone hands-free format, and was intended for police, military and other emergency officials. Even the public can purchase them. These glasses range from $699.99 to $2,500. Due to the fact “Google Glass” is so expensive, it has prohibited many of these officials from purchasing these glasses, especially in government-paid private sectors.
It has been two years in the making, and most companies like Sony and Samsung have developed a patent. The question is, “Why is it still in its original planning phase?” Scientists and optometrists, as well as project managers, are having trouble due to that the fact that the contact lens does not contain any strength in it. They are worried that customers who wear glasses would be deterred due to the consumer having to still wear glasses over the contacts.
Will the contacts be glass or the soft plastic? Most companies are arguing the basics. When a simple test was done on rabbits using soft plastic, they showed no discomfort. Every time the rabbit blinked, a picture was taken. To the developers this is something that could pose a problem because the average person blinks 28,000 times a day; it is a complete waste of space when these photos are transmitted to a secondary device such as a phone or a computer. Engineers still need to find a way to develop an “on-command” capability which would avoid the excessive amount of wasted photos and space.
The contact that developers at Sony have created is soft, for added comfort. The camera is on the right side by the outer cornea, and they are attempting to make it activated by voice rather than just blinking. The photo would be immediately transferred to your photo gallery or to your Google Drive. These contacts could contain external devices, which would have a much greater processing ability and could therefore be used to quickly provide valuable information to the user based on visual data received by the contacts.
The patent lists many other ways to receive data from other devices, including televisions, gaming systems, and navigation systems. Many devices these days are connected to the Internet, so with their help, the contacts could even display information from or send images to the Net.
Is this a capture into the future? Is this going too far? While the technology is showing us that it is ready to move forward into the future, most companies are not sure if they will develop the actual product. While the concept is there, it is still too advanced, and many compare it to flying cars, implying that it will never happen.
The ability to put down the phone or camera and having a camera available to you at the blink of an eye would eliminate frustration in many settings. So let me ask you: Are you ready to capture the future?
Amanda Jensen is a member of the Information Technology Senior Capstone Project course and is planning on a career in Network Security well hoping to work for SpaceX. For more information on Amanda and her work, visit AmandaJenswick.com.