Pentagon tests "smart" contact lenses

Posted by Shane McGlaun

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is currently testing a pair of iOptik contact lenses to determine if the advanced optics are capable of providing greater situational awareness for soldiers in the field.

Indeed, the lenses allow the human eye to focus in a way it's unable to do naturally by helping the wearer focus on something close up - like a heads up display - while simultaneously focusing on objects or terrain in the distance.

Pentagon tests "smart" contact lensesEssentially, the multifocal lenses permits the wearer to focus on two disparate items at the same time.

"Normally, for example, with a camera you focus on something distant or something close - but you focus on a particular spot," explained an iOptik rep.

"By wearing our contact lens you automatically have this multi-focus, or dual-focus, and you are doing something that humans don't usually do."

The manufacturer of the contacts hopes the technology will also appeal to mainstream consumers when it becomes available in 2014, rather than just military or law enforcement personnel.

One possible mainstream application? A virtual big-screen 3D image made possible by projecting a different image to each lens. And of course, augmented reality would also be a perfect fit for such advanced contacts.