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Visualizing Technology: The Exciting Future of Internet Contact Lenses

Every single day, scientists from around the world are improving the state of our lives
and the use of technology through their innovations and ground-breaking research. The rate of
technological advancement through time is exponentially increasing, meaning that we are
coming out with more technology at a faster rate, and increasing our energy use. Today, we have
innovations such as wearable technology, three-dimensional viewing, curved screens, selfdriving vehicles and artificial intelligence along with other ground breaking gadgets. We are
reaching a point where technology is not only being introduced into our daily lives, but it is also
being integrated into our mental and physical selves. The book: Physics of the Future , by
Dr. Michio Kaku provides excellent examples of the types of innovations scientists have come
up with along with what we can expect coming into the future. Dr. Kaku gives a descriptive
explanation of the types of technology that we are currently using compared to what we had
thirty years ago, and he makes predictions for the future. The prediction that he makes that I am
particularly concerned with, and have chosen for the topic of this paper is the technology of
internet contact lenses (Kaku, 2011, P.19). The purpose of this paper is to discover, explore
exactly what this technology is and the developments have been made thus far, its powerful
potential for development, and how our society will be positively impacted by the development
of this technology.
The development of internet contact lenses has been slow thus far as it is a new
technology. This is due to the exceedingly complex design and small size of the lens. This makes
it exceedingly difficult to insert computer chips, along with enough LEDs to make a screen, onto
a surface the size of a thumbnail. Google has already introduced glasses that have a screen and
computer like properties. Their technology has the ability to make calls, use Global Positioning
System navigation and even record video simply by talking to the glasses. (SUNY, 2012). In

Physics of the Future, Kaku discusses the progress that has been made so far with this
technology. According to Kaku, Babak Parviz, who is in charge of the leading development of
this technology, has so far succeeded in adding 1 LED to the surface of the lens. Today his lab is
developing a lens with an eight by eight LED display (Kaku, 2011, p.20). There are several other
researchers and labs around the globe investing time and money into this technology. Another
key research team, led by Jang-Ung Park, created a solution to what is one of the largest
roadblocks in the development of the lenses. Parks team has developed a nano material that
allows for superconductors to be placed onto the lens without melting it or irritating the wearer.
What this means is that, using this material, it is possible to place computer chips on the lens
(Bourzac, 2013). By using their new development, they have been able to place a light emitting
diode on it (Bourzac, 2013). This test has led to funding for research in using the lenses to
monitor medical information and also testing vision improvement technology with the lens. The
last development of major significance comes from Google and its counterparts. They have
developed a smart contact lens that has the ability to monitor blood glucose levels (Ellis, 2014,
P.1). This is something that I am especially interested in because I have type one diabetes and I
believe that this is an enormous step forward to a future of technology embedded into humans.
Thus far we have made huge strides into the world of bionic and internet contact lenses and more
developments are expected to come in the near future.
The potential for a technology such as internet contact lenses is enormous. There are
numerous science fiction style movies that put the technology on display, and although it is not
necessarily real, the notion of a future with those possibilities is incredible. Kaku describes some
of the future applications for the technology across many different industries. One possibility for
this technology is in telecommunications. He describes a world where we could see three-

dimensional images of the people that we are communicating with around us, and it would
appear to us in a way that similar to a conversation in a room with them (Kaku, 2011, p.22).
Another application he cites is viewing various forms of media like television or film, where we
could watch the film by simply playing it through our contact lenses (Kaku, 2011, p.22). One of
the more fascinating applications he suggests for the technology involves virtual reality, and
having the ability to physically interact with objects that we see through our contact lenses
(Kaku, 2011, p.24). This is particularly interesting because it opens up a new frontier for virtual
reality in which interaction with things like video games or physics engine models become
possible, whereas now we can only interact with them on a superficial kind of level. Another
exciting concept for the internet contact lenses exists for people like drivers and pilots. The idea
is for them to be able to have a 360 degree view of everything around them with the help of
small cameras positioned around their vehicles and a live feed. This technology, according to
Kaku, could save a vast amount of lives every year in accident prevention (Kaku, 2011, p.28).
Kaku, however, is not the only person who has big expectations for this technology. Punjabis
team of theorists cite multiple future possibilities for the technology, some of which include:
military use, virtual reality tourism business, improving vision and giving superhuman vision,
and the ability to track biomarkers such as sodium levels (Punjabi, 2012, P. 3-6). Given all of the
expectations for this technology, it is clear that exciting developments are coming in the near
future. Soon we will see a world where our vision is enhanced and our brains are almost
connected to the internet through these lenses. Until then, Kakus predictions along with his
colleagues and the media will have to satiate our imaginations. However, there are many factors
to consider whilst discussing the development and future of this technology, as I will discuss in
the next paragraph.

With all of this revolutionary technology being developed, there is a large amount of
concern regarding the impact that it will have on society. It is obvious that things will change,
and in a sense it will be for the better, but not in all cases. One clear issue that exists with this
kind of technology is lack of privacy. The ability to identify anybody at a moments notice, and
retrieve information about them even though they are a complete stranger is likely to draw
concerns. Another concern with this technology is that it will be available only to the rich,
creating a divide between rich and poor. It could also fall into the hands of the wrong people,
allowing for organizations of terror to operate in new ways given the advances. These of course
are all difficult situations to foresee, however the possibilities are there. Similarly, Kaku
mentions that if we do not exercise a degree of wisdom and caution, we may perish to the
advances in technology that is yet to come (Kaku, 2011, p. 185). A world where we dont have to
leave our houses to see or do nearly anything is a world that many dont wish to live in. It causes
the problem of de-socialization, and could also lead to serious issues in health care where lack of
exercise is concerned. With all of this also come all of the above advantages, including better
medical technology, increased efficiency in business, better telecommunication and the
advantage of added safety for transportation. All in all, the future of society with this technology
cant be determined yet, but with proper precautions in place it will be a huge leap.
The purpose of this paper was to analyze the technology of internet contact lenses, to
discuss its applications and future developments. This technology may seem like a distant and
sci-fi technology, but in truth it is in development and moving fairly rapidly. Researchers have
created a model that connected LED light within the contact that was worn in an eye (SUNY,
2012). Another model that is in the process of being approved is a smart lens that can detect
blood pressure and sugar levels (Ellis, 2014). The future applications of the technology are

endless, and the aim for it is to make everything from entertainment to telecommunications more
efficient and effective in delivery and use. The potential applications for virtual reality are also
incredible, and the thought is that we will be able to interact with the things we see in the lenses.
(Kaku, 2011, p. 22-24). However, there are concern about the practical uses of the technology in
the future and how society will be affected by it. Overall, it seems that it will be largely
beneficial, with some minor effects that can be addressed over time.

Works Cited
1. Bourzac, K. (2013, June 7). Contact Lens Computer: Like Google Glass, without the
Glasses. In MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/515666/contact-lens-computer-like-googleglass-without-the-glasses/
2. Sukhwani, G., Kalra, D., & Punjabi, D. (n.d.). Bionic Contact Lenses. In Academia.
Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/4257282/BIONIC_CONTACT_LENS
3. Ellis, M. (2014, January 17). Google unveils 'smart contact lens' to help diabetics. In
Medical News today. Retrieved from:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271389.php
4. Kaku, M. (2011). Physics of the Future. Toronto, Canada: Random House.