World’s first telescopic contact lens with 2.8x optical zoom. Built-in camera next?

Photo: Niek Beck
July 3, 2013 /Photography News/ A new telescopic contact lens, developed by researchers from the University of California, San Diego and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne is the first of its kind, providing the wearer with magnified vision.

Measuring 8 millimeters in diameter, 1 millimeter thick at its center and 1.7 millimeters thick at its magnifying ring, the telescopic lens works by having the magnifying ring on the outside of the lens focus light onto the retina, using specially designed aluminum mirrors that bounce the light between them four times before directing the light onto the retina.  The telescopic lens magnifies vision by 280 percent, about the same as 100mm lens on a DSLR camera.

The prototype contains two separate optical paths: one for magnified vision and one for regular vision. Polarising filters in the spectacles allow wearers to switch between normal and telescopic vision. 

While these lenses are developed and designed to assist people with age-related macular degeneration, a healthy person could certainly wear them. 

The lenses may one day find their way into other areas as the research was being funded by DARPA, the research arm of the US military.

While the prototype represents a significant step forward from the previous 4.4 mm-thick telescopic lens (not compatible with real-world use), we are wondering what future technological developments will bring. Will the next version of this telescopic lens  -or a rival invention- come with a built-in camera? Share your guess below.

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  1. Martin says


    Anonymous says

    Hopefully it will lead to an artificial eye for those who have lost their vision because of disease or an accident.

    Anonymous says

    I'd buy that if it was safe. If it wasn't like a contact lens.

    Anonymous says

    The military will be the first "beneficiaries".

    Silv / K H says

    So this intended to be worn with spectacles as well?

    Seems very weird, to be honest.

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    This is a really amazing, now it will help more to peoples.
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6 comments so far. What do you think?