A new contact lens is being developed that would allow wearers to zoom in and zoom out on focal points, just like the Terminator.

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The telescopic lens is just over a millimeter thick and is composed of a central unmagnified optical path, surrounded by a ring of movable components that magnify the view 2.8 times. Although it doesn’t compute the facial structure of potential targets — at least not yet– a liquid crystal shutters does allow the user switch between normal and magnified vision.

The lens was developed by Eric Tremblay and his colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and at the University of California, San Diego. Research and development has been funded by DARPA.

Tremblay and company integrated the LCD shutter mechanism into a pair of modified Samsung 3D TV glasses to imitate the effect of a contact lens. While the lens has been tested on a life-sized optomechanical model of the human eye, the prototype is still tethered to the glasses. However, researchers are confident that, with future development and testing, the LCD technology can be directly embedded into the lens.

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“Although the magnified images were clearly visible in our tests, acuity fell short of the design specification,” the researchers report, according to New Scientist. However, by improving the refractive optics, the team believes they can solve any diffraction-related problems.

In the meantime, we’ll just have to keep squinting and using our bifocals. But, please, no quoting lines from Terminator.

via New Scientist

Credit: UCSD