Mission possible?

Previously the domain of Hollywood blockbusters, smart contact lenses are inching closer to reality

13 Jun 2017 by Selina Powell

South Korean researchers are developing a contact lens with built-in wireless smart sensors that can detect intraocular pressure (IOP) and blood glucose levels. 

The research, published in Nature Communications, holds potential for the management and diagnosis of glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. 

A common shortcoming of smart lens technology to date has been that the devices are difficult for patients to wear. 

But Professor Jang-Ung Park and his colleagues have addressed this challenge by developing a sensor using transparent, flexible materials. 

The sensors are made from electrodes using stretchable and transparent graphene sheets and metal nanowires.

Patients may one day be able to use the contact lenses to self-monitor their eye pressure and blood glucose levels. An embedded wireless antenna in the sensor transmits health information. 

Dr Park highlighted: “We are now a step closer to the implementation of a fictional idea for a smart contact lens, seen in films like Minority Report and Mission Impossible.”

Image credit: David McClenaghan, CSIRO

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