Indian researchers make ”smart” contact lenses


Melbourne: A team of Indian research scientists are working on a device that can manipulate the extent of light and filter specific colors while still being transparent which can make up to “smart” contact lenses.

This research is being carried out by the scientists at Melbourne-based RMIT University and the University of Adelaide who are creating a stretchable nano-scale device to manipulate light.

These devices are made on a rubber like material which are used for contact lenses, said an associate professor Madhu Bhaskaran from RMIT.

“We embedded precisely-controlled crystals of titanium oxide – a material that is usually found in sunscreen, in these soft and pliable materials,” she said.

These materials form an ideal platform for wearable optical devices as these prove to be bio-compatible.

“By engineering the shape of these common materials, we can create a device that changes properties when stretched. This modifies the way the light interacts with and travels through the device, which holds promise of making smart contact lenses and stretchable colour changing surfaces,” Bhaskaran explained.

Using the technology, high-tech lenses could one day filter harmful optical radiation without interfering with vision.

In a more advanced version, the lenses can transmit data and gather live vital information or even show information like a head-up display.

“Manipulation of light using these artificial crystals uses precise engineering. With advanced techniques, we can dynamically control their filter properties, which allow us to create devices for high data-rate optical communication or smart contact lenses,” explained Dr Withawat Withayachumnankul from the University of Adelaide.

The current challenge is that dielectric resonators only work for specific colours, but with the new flexible surface, scientists can adjust the operation range simply by stretching it.

“With this technology, we now have the ability to develop light weight wearable optical components which also allow for the creation of futuristic devices like flexible smartphone cameras,” noted Gutruf in a paper published in the journal ACS Nano.(IANS)(