Communion Of Dreams


Right on schedule.

A friend who recently read Communion of Dreams sent me a link to this item this morning:

DARPA sets sights on high-tech contact lenses

(Phys.org) — A Bellevue, Washington, company specializing in display technology based on eyewear and contact lenses has sealed a deal with DARPA. Innovega, which says its technology can open a “new dimension to virtual and augmented reality applications,” told the BBC earlier this week that it has signed a contract to deliver a prototype of its iOptik display system to DARPA. That system consists of special contact lenses and eyeglasses. The product is touted to be a better solution than bulky heads-up display systems of the past. Screens sit directly on users’ eyeballs and work with a pair of special lightweight glasses.

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Users can look at two things at once, both the information projected and the more distant view. The retina receives each image in focus. The engineers used nanoscale techniques to develop the lenses, so that they can work as a focusing device with the glasses. The ability to focus the near-eye image is achieved by embedding optical elements inside the iOptik contact lens, according to Innovega. The micro-components do not interfere with the wearer’s normal vision.

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The company says its system affords the human eye to see near-to-eye micro-display information simultaneously with the surrounding environment. Beyond DARPA, the company anticipates its technology can be used by the general public, but it will take a few years for that to happen. The product is undergoing clinical trials as part of the US FDA approval process. Possible applications might be gaming, watching big-screen 3-D movies, and future augmented reality devices superimposing images on reality. According to Innovega, the technology may be available to the public towards the end of 2014.

There’s also video of how the technology works, using a camera with one of these contacts mounted on the surface of the lens. It’s pretty cool.

Four years ago I wrote about the first big breakthrough with this kind of technology, and noted that the article I was referring to said the technology should reach the stage where DARPA would be able to start testing a functional version in “three to five years.”

Just for fun, here’s a passage from the beginning of Chapter 8 of Communion of Dreams when the main character first descends to the surface of Titan:

Jon nodded, slipped between the seats, through the door of the airlock. Locking it, he started the cycle. He felt a crinkling of his environment suit as it compensated for the increasing pressure, then the indicator light turned green and the hatch opened. He looked out into a thick, dull red fog. In the distance a strobe flashed. Sidwell’s compound.

Jon went out the hatch, down a couple of steps to the ground. As he cleared the small craft, his pc connected to Sidwell’s datastream broadcast. An overlay appeared before his eyes, pale lines of light outlining buildings in the distance. Nodding to the two guards waiting, he followed them toward the compound.

As I’ve said many times before, it’s always fun to see these technologies I envisioned becoming reality.

Jim Downey

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

And we think cell phones are a distraction – can you imagine people driving with these in?

Comment by Liz Soldwish-Zoole

Heh – good point. It’ll be interesting to see how the learning curve goes.

Comment by James Downey




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