First smartphones that bend; now contacts that display text messages

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| December 8, 2012

Okay, so as we can see I’ve been on this kick lately about what technology has in store for us in the future. A few days ago I brought up the fact that a few companies are actively working to create bendable smartphones, and today I read about a new kind of technology that can “handle projected images using wireless technology”. What? Hold the phone! Does this mean that we’ll be able to read things directly from our contact lenses? Meaning there would be an entire screen in my eye? Apparently so!

The Telegraph reports that Ghent University’s center of microsystems technology has created this new LCD display contact lens which could be “possibly available in only a few years”. The chief researcher on the project, Jelle De Smet, claims that “This is not science fiction,” and continues to say she thinks that developers will have applications ready in the next five years.

“This will never replace the cinema screen for films. But for specific applications it may be interesting to show images such as road directions or projecting text messages from our smart phones straight to our eye.” She continues.

Woah, woah, woah - road directions and text messages? That’s a nice idea in theory, but once you start to think about it that just sounds extremely dangerous, not to mention inconvenient. There you are driving down the road, no big deal, and suddenly you make a wrong turn. The road vanishes and all of a sudden all you can see is “RE” in your left eye and “CALCULATING” in your right eye. Everybody crashes and nobody has a good time. Now I’m sure that’s not exactly how this works, but judging by the video in the article I just can’t see this becoming that mainstream; at least not for the purposes they’re advertising it for.

I can’t see it working out regarding viewing text messages and road directions, but I can see this technology somehow being used in the future for other purposes.  The article also mentions that these lenses could be used to cosmetically change the color of your eye to suit your current mood. I’m not sure how dedicated I would be to change my contact lens to “red” the moment I get angry and back to “blue” once I’m done. I could just see that not working out in my favor:

“Honey, you haven’t said a word to me all day. What’s wrong?”

“… Your eyes have been set to ‘fire’ all day. I thought it would be best to avoid you.”

I imagine, despite forgetting to change the color every once in a while, that the idea could catch on. Imagine all the outfits my eyes could match! But I digress.

You could also build on this technological advancement and try to make it so bionic eyes are created for those who cannot see and would like to. Obviously that would require a lot more work based off of this idea, but I could see it happening. I just don’t think the idea they’re rolling with regarding the visual alerts is a very good one. If texting and driving isn’t recommended, what’s the point of having the text flash in front of your face so you can’t ignore it, regardless the circumstances? You could argue that the feature could be turned off, but imagine the accidents that can happen if it malfunctions. There’s absolutely no room for error there.

So readers, what do you think about all this new-fangled technology being talked about? Do you see these ideas getting anywhere, or do you think they leave much to be desired? Let me know what you think!

Image via GizmoChunk