For me, the switch from glasses to contact lenses was a revelation. Walking around, looking down the street and seeing into the distance without anything on my face sold me. After years of pushing frames back up the bridge of my nose and pausing whatever I was doing to clean the lenses on my shirt, I was finally free.
Mind you, never did I imagine contact lenses would do more than let me see without glasses on my face. Nevertheless, I would probably give high-tech lenses a try — until realizing that anybody anywhere could be recording me from their eyes without me knowing about it. Yeah, creepy.
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The rise of the surveillance state means there are cameras just about everywhere now.
Police are wearing body cams, and their cars already have dash cams, all with the aim of catching bad people doing bad things, and documenting highly tense, high-stakes situations.
Technology developers are eyeing a new frontier for cameras, one that would seem like fantasy if not for the patents: contact lenses.
Science fiction and spy movies have been pointing the way for years, and it looks like they could become a reality sooner than you would expect.
via DeviantArt / Jakeir
Google patented its first contact lens camera in 2014 and was followed shortly after by Samsung.
Sony had a patent approved that, if the specs can be trusted, sports far more features than the other two.
via Mashable | Google
The amount of technology Sony fits into these contact lenses is nothing short of astounding.
If contact lenses can record video, where does it record the video to, you ask? And how do you play it back? What will it look like? How will you turn the camera on and off?
Yes, there are many questions…
via Futurism | United States Patent and Trademark Office / Sony
Sony has hinged its contact lens camera on an ability to determine whether you’re blinking randomly or on purpose.
According to the patent, the “time period of usual blinking is usually 0.2 seconds to 0.4 seconds, and therefore it can be said that, in the case where the time period of blinking exceeds 0.5 seconds, the blinking is conscious blinking that is different from usual blinking (unconscious blinking).”
Which suggests that wearers will be able to blink purposefully, or maybe even wink, to turn the recorder on and off. However, the lenses also have tiny sensors that turn eye movements into energy, which would allow you to activate the camera by looking left or right, for example.
via reddit / charming-devil
Sony’s lenses also feature an internal recording device, so you wouldn’t need to carry anything around with you.
Samsung’s lenses, in contrast, are designed to transmit whatever you want to record to a nearby device like a smartphone.
Sony’s patent also lists features like zoom, focus, stability, and change of aperture, making it close to a true camera.
However, the lenses wouldn’t have all the features of, say, Google Glass.
via Business Insider | Flickr / Paulo Philippidis
Remember these hopelessly clunky, antiquated relics?
It’s okay, they’re firmly in the past now. But we haven’t heard the last of Google. Not to be out-done, hot on Sony’s heels the search engine giants announced that they had filed a patent for a smart lens that could be implanted directly into the eye.
So you wouldn’t need to worry about it popping out while you’re in the shower and washing down the drain.
After undergoing surgery to install the lens, users would be able to connect to wireless devices, take pictures and video, and automatically adjust focus, and could be remotely adjusted and calibrated if the user’s vision worsens.
via Digital Trends
So we’re not quite at the point where we’ll all be able to walk around with vision like the Terminator, or super spies for that matter.
And how soon these technologies come to market is another matter entirely. But the geniuses at some of the world’s most advanced companies are competing to bring their wonders to your eyes, so it sure looks like we’re getting closer!
via ars technica
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Main image via DeviantArt / Jakeir
Collage image via Business Insider | Flickr / Paulo Philippidis