Smart Contact Lens Powered by Salt Water

A flexible battery as thin as a human cornea that stores electricity.

Image Credits: NTU Singapore

Researchers and scientists from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) are working to develop a pair of smart contacts that are driven by tears.

Users will be able to view information on a heads-up display(HUD) in real-time with the archetypal augmented reality (AR) contact lenses.

The devices will have thin, flexible battery technology that is "as thin as a human cornea," and will be powered by the wearers' tears, reports XRToday.

According to the university study article titled "A tear-based battery charged by biofuel for smart contact lenses," the gadget will be powered by saline sources, which will also produce electricity for storage in the flexible battery system.

The saline-powered charging mechanism will enable customers to increase the battery life for almost four hours each 12-hour cycle in addition to external chargers.

The comfort and durability of the gadget will be improved by the smart contacts' exclusion of hazardous materials, wiring, and other invasive technologies from their components.

Related: Mojo AR Contact Lens Wants To Track Your Health

“The most common battery charging system for smart contact lenses requires metal electrodes in the lens, which are harmful if they are exposed to the naked human eye,” says Dr Yun Jeong-Hun, Co-First Author and Research Fellow, NTU’s School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (EEE).

“Meanwhile, another mode of powering lenses, induction charging, requires a coil to be in the lens to transmit power, much like a wireless charging pad for a smartphone. Our tear-based battery eliminates the two potential concerns that these two methods pose, while also freeing up space for further innovation in the development of smart contact lenses.”

Initial research for the device debuted at a Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies Award Singapore lecture in December 2021.

The ultra-compact batteries allow people to control the lightweight, haptic wearable with forearm, wrist, finger, and other movements from the human body.

Sam Draper
September 11, 2023

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