With all these smart eyewear patents and research studies popping up over the last couple years, it’s looking more and more like we’re all going to be seeing the world from behind high-tech lenses.
The patent, seen by Sony Alpha Rumors, describes connected lenses that can capture a photo when the wearer blinks an eye, store that photo and then send it to a wireless device like a smartphone, tablet or computer.
To capture the photos, the patent describes using a device like a smartphone to tell the lenses to capture an image. But it’s hard to imagine an easier method for snapping a photo than blinking, enabled by a light sensor on the lens that detects eyelid movement.
The patent also notes that the lenses have the ability to zoom, focus and change the aperture, so the pictures could actually be pretty decent.
Not only that, but the contacts are described as having a display, allowing you to view captured images. Having displays on contact lenses is something scientists have already been working on.
Sony describes the ability to interact with the lenses through a smartphone, turning them on and off or possibly going through the display. If you don’t want to mess with a smartphone and would rather not take a photo every time you blink, Sony describes an on/off switch right on the lenses.
“In the case where the user presses an end of his/her eyelid in a state in which the eyelid is closed, such press is sensed by the piezoelectric [pressure] sensor, and thus the switch can be turned on,” the patent reads.
As cool as the lens camera sounds, this is a lot of stuff to pack into something as small as a contact lens. The question of how exactly all of this is achieved at a technical level is left to be pretty vague, so we’re left waiting for a working prototype that may never come. The sophistication of the these smart contact lenses requires technology that wouldn’t fit comfortably on a lens.
Even if we won’t be wearing these lenses in the next couple years, the patent gives us a glimpse into the possible future of smart eyewear and how it might work.