Babak Amir Parviz and his students at the University of Washington are working on solar-powered contact lenses with a semi-transparent LED display. Last year, they only had one pixel and no power supply. Then they were able to display the letter E superimposed in red over whatever you’re looking at, which would only be interesting if you were on E. Now they have a power source (one built-in solar cell) and a method to place more pixels on the lens (video below).
Of his research, Parviz says, “These lenses don’t need to be very complex to be useful. Even a lens with a single pixel could aid people with impaired hearing or be incorporated as an indicator into computer games. With more colors and resolution, the repertoire could be expanded to include displaying text, translating speech into captions in real time, or offering visual cues from a navigation system. With basic image processing and Internet access, a contact-lens display could unlock whole new worlds of visual information, unfettered by the constraints of a physical display.” [Inhabitat]
They’re working on wirelessly connecting this to a cell phone or PDA, so maybe someday you can get your superimportant text messages beamed right to your eye, without having to take your hands off the wheel of your car and trying to kill us all, ARE YOU LISTENING, KAREN?
[Thanks to Nunaya for the tip.]