Researchers in Switzerland and San Diego said this week that they have developed contact lenses that can bestow telescopic vision upon the wearer.
The contacts work in conjunction with a set of special glasses that wouldn’t seem that unusual by themselves. Inside the lens, a tiny ring reflects light back and forth with hundreds of aluminum mirrors. Those mirrors are positioned precisely so that all the points of light come together in an image projected onto the eye that depicts the world magnified by 2.8 times, according to the BBC.
The catch is that the image is only seen if the wearer puts on a special polarized filter, embedded in a pair of glasses similar to the 3-D shades popular in Hollywood’s big summer blockbusters. The lenses are similarly fitted with their own polarized filter that makes everything appear normal without the companion filter, which switches the effect on so to speak.
Researchers told the BBC that the lenses could be used to help people — particularly the elderly — suffering from macular degeneration, but any wearer could benefit from having enhanced vision.
The project was funded through the U.S. Department of Defense’s research wing DARPA, which is easy to see as one might imagine battlefield scenarios being a place someone might benefit from extra sharp eye sight.
[“Stock Photo: Eye” on Shutterstock.]