Virtual Reality Contact Lenses Are One Step Closer to Reality


As Dr. Michio Kaku has been predicting for years, we are inching ever closer to producing virtual reality contact lenses that will add a layer of interactive, rich information over our mundane visual landscape.

The newest innovation comes from a joint venture between DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and a technology company called Innovega.

Innovega describes the new technology and its potential applications thusly:

Innovega designers and partners considered the future of personal media, social networking, and mobile computing, and converged upon an aggressive design-point that meets today’s needs as well as demands of high-performance AR which require a see-through and panoramic display interface. Innovega refers to its innovative product as a ‘lifestyle interface‘, since consumers view their digital content in a way that is similar to how they see the world around them. By providing a transparent, fashionable, and comfortable interface that is consistent with today’s active lifestyles, the architecture also eliminates the social barrier that traditional opaque and bulky video eyewear seems to create.

Now, before you rush and order your own Innovega iOptik set-up, there are a few caveats. For one thing, you won’t be able to just insert a contact lens and start living in your own personal version of Minority Report. The new contact lenses are only half of the equation; you also have to wear a set of proprietary glasses that work in conjunction with the lenses to produce the promised futuristic effect. The lenses themselves act primarily as dynamic focusing tools, using nano-fabricated elements to make the optics of the “augmented reality” glasses work correctly. If Innovega follows through on this promise, iOptik users will have access to a quasi-virtual “screen size that is equivalent to a 240 inch television (viewed at a usual distance of 10 feet).”

While the lack of a self-contained contact lens that can act as a virtual overlay on your vision might seem a tad disappointing, the new Innovega technology is a big step toward realizing that dream. In the past, virtual reality or augmented reality technology has required either giant helmets, bulky headsets with various accessories, or complex systems of cameras and projectors. Innovega has shrunk this down to a pair of glasses and contact lens. Can full, in-eye virtual reality be far off?

In this clip from his Floating University lecture, Dr. Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at CUNY, describes with eerie foresight the very technology that DARPA and Innovega have developed:

Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less