In the blink of an eye

Sony has developed early-stage designs for a photo-taking contact lens


In the coming years, it may become hard to tell if someone is winking at you or taking your photo, with plans by the Sony Corporation for a photo-capturing contact lens.

The Japan-based company filed a patent on its early-stage design with the United States Patent and Trademark Office this month.

The image-capture system will be activated by the conscious blink of an eyelid – but its sensors will be able to tell these apart from the unconscious natural blinks of the user.

Sony envisions its contact lens-embedded camera will have an aperture stop, zoom lens and focus lens.

The contact lens, to be worn in one eye, will be wirelessly connected to a main unit such as a smartphone or tablet that controls the system and stores the images, the patent explained. The contact lens will also have a display feature, that allows users to view the photos they have taken.

The patent noted that: “The system [will] simulate the appearance of a user wearing a colour contact lens.”

Like other blue-sky research and development projects for the eye – such as Google’s intraocular lens for presbyopes – Sony’s design is not yet at the prototype stage.