Try asking difficult questions. I was reading this enthusiastic story about smart contact lenses, and I had one big one. It isn’t answered.
Now, Google’s taken another step in normalizing Glass. It’s unveiled a smart contact lens containing a silicon chip so small it’s the size of a piece of glitter.
The lens is intended to help diabetics track the glucose levels in their tears. It has a sensor embedded in the thin plastic and a wireless chip so that it can communicate with other devices. And engineers at Google’s secretive X labs are working on putting LEDs in the lens so that it can show users a visual warning if their glucose reaches dangerous levels.
Scale that up, and what you get is a version of Google Glass that fits in your eye.
Wait, wait, wait. The lens of your eye is not going to focus on something plastered on the surface of the lens. You aren’t going to be able to put a video screen equivalent on there and have text scroll by, for instance. I can see the specific example they mention working — a pulsing flash, out of focus and seen as a changing level of light, could work as an alert — but you’re not going to be able to scale that up into a heads-up display, for instance.
They have a video demo of a similar system. It’s a contact-lens-sized disc, all right, clamped in place with great big connectors leading into it, flashing a dollar sign under computer control. Yeah, I can see it when your video camera is focused on it from a foot away…but try sticking that directly on the lens and then shoot your video. It will be disappointing.
Miniaturizing circuitry is not news. There’s a problem in optics here that the gushing gadgeteers aren’t at all prepared to even think about.