PARIS – Research organization IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) said it has prototyped a spherical curved LCD display to be embedded in contact lenses.
The Center of Microsystems Technology (CMST), Imec’s associated laboratory at Ghent University, claimed it has taken one step toward pixilated contact lens displays for use in medical and cosmetic applications.
The LCD-based technology enables to use the entire display surface. And, by adjusting the patterning process of the conductive layer, researchers said it enables applications with a broad range of pixel number and sizes, such as a one pixel, fully covered contact lens acting as adaptable sunglasses, or a highly pixilated contact lens display.
The prototype can only display rudimentary patterns, similar to an electronic pocket calculator. Researchers anticipate fully autonomous electronic contact lenses embedded with this display. In the future, the next generation solutions could be used to control the light transmission toward the retina in case of a damaged iris. The display could also work as a head-up display, superimposing an image onto the user’s normal view.
The contact lens display with the dollar sign held next to a human eye
“Normally, flexible displays using liquid crystal cells are not designed to be formed into a new shape, especially not a spherical one. Thus, the main challenge was to create a very thin, spherically curved substrate with active layers that could withstand the extreme molding processes,” saidJelle De Smet, project leader at CMST.
Smet continued: “Since we had to use very thin polymer films, their influence on the smoothness of the display had to be studied in detail. By using new kinds of conductive polymers and integrating them into a smooth spherical cell, we were able to fabricate a new LCD-based contact lens display.”
CMST esearchers said they can now start working towards real applications that will be potentially available in a few years time.
Click on image to watch a video of the working prototype