Super Contacts Boost Vision, Help Those with Macular Degeneration
Bionic eyes may not be that far off.
No, I'm not talking about Google Glass. A group of researchers recently published a paper about a telescopic contact lens they developed that when worn with special glasses enable users to magnify their sight by almost three times.
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Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), worked with Switzerland's Polytechnic School to develop the lenses primarily to treat people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Treatment for AMD, which causes serious vision loss by damaging the macula (a part of the retina), has largely consisted of invasive surgery or bulky glasses with telescopic lenses.
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The cyborglike contact lenses, which can switch between normal and telescopic vision, are 1.17 millimeters thick and can magnify up to 2.8 times. A central ring in the lens provides normal vision. The outer area is equipped with aluminum mirrors that can zoom in dramatically with the assistance of liquid crystal glasses—essentially 3-D glasses.
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DARPA, the military research arm of the U.S. military, funded the work via a larger program called Soldier-Centric Imaging with Computational Cameras.
The contact lenses enter a clinical trial in November.
—By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.