Forget Google Glasses: Our ‘Smart Phones’ Will Soon Be Contact Lenses
This month’s buzz award was won by Google’s secretive Project Glass, a concept in development by Google X Lab that promises to replace our smartphones with augmented reality glasses. It’s anticipated that this exciting futuristic eyewear will be available next year in stores. But Google Glasses are Sony’s Walkman compared to what’s expected to be consumer-ready in the next 5 to 10 years: Project contact lens.
You wake up in the morning, rub your sleepy eyes. As you’re getting ready to face the day you put in your contact lens, which will make the Internet and all your files, playlists, GPS, favorite apps, and addicting games literally available with the blink of an eye. Scientists are already at the animal testing phase of the technology that will make this possible. (Yes, but who would want to wear a contact lens if one didn’t have to, might be the counter argument. Around a hundred million people wear contact lenses; so this technology has a significant market of potential early adopters. It would only be a matter of time before it caught on.)
Making this technology functional, comfortable, and safe is the work of Babak Parviz, a bionanotechnology expert at the University of Washington, in Seattle. The idea came to him from morning after morning of putting in his contact lenses. So he’s made it his mission to assemble an energy-storage module, telecommunication and power reception antenna, biosensor module, solar cell module (for additional power), and other highly sophisticated bit parts onto a consumer ready 1.5 square centimeter, transparent contact lens. An illustration of this micro juggling act of massive implications is available here: http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bionics/augmented-reality-in-a-contact-lens/eyesb1
The functionality of Google Glasses, seen in this now epic product video, will be available on the contact lens; the major difference, of course, is display: While Project Glass uses a tiny screen in the upper corner of sleek eyewear, “Project Contact Lens”—as I’m calling it—will achieve the same effect of a screen hovering in the air in front of you but by layering micro-lenses onto the contact lens. The layering will require spacing a pixel and a microlens 360 micrometers apart to push the virtual image away from the cornea. Those images will come to life with LED chips that Parviz says he hopes will be “an array of 3600 10-µm-wide pixels spaced 10 µm apart.” All this technology creates heat; for obvious safety reasons, Parviz must ensure that the final product’s temperature stays below 45 °C.
For IEEE.org, he writes:
All the basic technologies needed to build functional contact lenses are in place. We’ve tested our first few prototypes on animals, proving that the platform can be safe. What we need to do now is show all the subsystems working together, shrink some of the components even more, and extend the RF power harvesting to higher efficiencies and to distances greater than the few centimeters we have now. We also need to build a companion device that would do all the necessary computing or image processing to truly prove that the system can form images on demand. We’re starting with a simple product, a contact lens with a single light source, and we aim to work up to more sophisticated lenses that can superimpose computer-generated high-resolution color graphics on a user’s real field of vision.
This juggling act that Parviz and his team are working to master requires them to make all the needed parts from scratch, and then cover the parts with a biocompatible substance to ensure that they are completely safe for the eye.
While this technology may make some people squeamish and conjure up images of Dali’s Un Chien Andalou, it is the inevitable evolution of smart phone technology. And from there, we can expect to see the product video for “Google Brain Chips” or the like.
The reason why Google Glasses will become obsolete is because the contact lens, by its very nature, has the greater chance of exploiting the remarkable processing power of the human eye. When the rate of information exchanged between the eye and the brain makes the highest speed internet connection look like a tortoise in a race, Project Contact Lens signals an important gateway to fully harnessing our natural power.
If Google wants to own this space, it should forfeit its “Facebook killer.” With the thrilling potential for smartphone nanotechnology, why would C.E.O. Larry Page continue to play Gargamel to Mark Zuckerberg’s Papa Smurf? The Facebook-obsessed Page should instead allocate his Google+ budget to more Google X Lab R&D.
Memo to Larry: “Don’t be Evil or Redundant.”
Image Credit: Bruce Rolff/Shutterstock.com
What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.
The idea of 'absolute time' is an illusion. Physics and subjective experience reveal why.
- Since Einstein posited his theory of general relativity, we've understood that gravity has the power to warp space and time.
- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.
Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.
Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.
- Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
- The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
- The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Vanchurin interview:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="539759cbfd8fcd5b6ebf14a3b597b3f9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bmyRy2-UhEE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Vanchurin on “Hidden Phenomena”:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="18886ffd5e5840bb19d4494212f88d82"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2NDVdNwsHCo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>Vitaly Vanchurin speaking at the 6th International FQXi Conference, "Mind Matters: Intelligence and Agency in the Physical World." The Foundational Questions...
43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.
If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.
Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting
17th-century outbreaks of plague in Italy reveal both tensions between religious and public health authorities.