These robotic lenses will integrate seamlessly with your own eyes

Technology |  < 1 min. read

Blink twice and you can zoom in for a close-up view of something tiny.  Blink three times and you can zoom out to take a wide-angle view.

The stuff cyborgs are made of?  Nope.  The stuff our contact lenses could eventually be made of?  Perhaps.  And that “stuff” will be made from soft polymers like the “acrylic foam” used for a lens made by Shengqiang Cai and his team at the University of California San Diego, made possible by petrochemicals like propylene.

What those polymers make possible in this case, is a flexible lens that can be controlled by the movement of our eyes.  Our eyes already change the shape of our natural-born eyes, and how we adjust to changes in light or distance.  Now those same tiny electrical impulses, generated by the tiny muscles in our eyes may be what changes the shape of our new cyborg eyes.

This is actually part of a larger field of research around creating “machines” made from soft materials that attempt to replicate organic materials like the human eye.

In the world of soft robots or if you like the more technical term the “human soft machine interface”, robots that can squeeze into tight spaces like damaged buildings for search and rescue, or inside the human body for delicate surgeries.

But while our squishy overlords are farther off in the future maybe in the not-too-distant future, “Blink, and you’ll miss it” will be replaced by “Blink, and you’ll see everything.”