Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2020's tech - Today!

Cross-posted, due to the fun gaming implications...

Lookie what they're making at the hospital my wife works at:

visual aids to help vision-impaired people, holographic driving control panels and even as a way to surf the Web on the go.
Heads Up Displays on your eyeballs.
Ideally, installing or removing the bionic eye would be as easy as popping a contact lens in or out, and once installed the wearer would barely know the gadget was there, Parviz said.
That would be freakin' cool. Ending blindness way before Geordi Laforge.

But it kinda creeps me out. I'm one of those guys who doesn't like having his eyeballs touched. I can't do normal contact lenses, let alone these:
Building the lenses was a challenge because materials that are safe for use in the body, such as the flexible organic materials used in contact lenses, are delicate. Manufacturing electrical circuits, however, involves inorganic materials, scorching temperatures and toxic chemicals. Researchers built the circuits from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and constructed light-emitting diodes one third of a millimeter across. They then sprinkled the grayish powder of electrical components onto a sheet of flexible plastic. The shape of each tiny component dictates which piece it can attach to, a microfabrication technique known as self-assembly. Capillary forces -- the same type of forces that make water move up a plant's roots, and that cause the edge of a glass of water to curve upward -- pull the pieces into position.
So far, they've tested it on rabbits. It's safe on them for 20 minutes, at least. As long as you wear your contacts for no more than 20 minutes, it's unlikely they'll explode and jam microscopic circuitry straight into your optic nerve. Fear nothing, my friends.

Think of all the practical applications. It has so many advantages:
"There is a large area outside of the transparent part of the eye that we can use for placing instrumentation," Parviz said. Future improvements will add wireless communication to and from the lens. The researchers hope to power the whole system using a combination of radio-frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens, Parviz said.
Solar cells in your contacts! At last, that extra reason I needed to justify staring directly into the sun all day long. Wireless calls directly too and from your eyes! Now you can search the net while stumbling blindly down a hallway. Heads up displays so we can save millions by making newer gas-guzzling hummers that lack steering wheels and dashboards! LARPers and Goths are no longer restricted to cat eyes and the Union Jack, either. The possibilities are endless! There's no limit to what crap you can stick to your eyeballs.

I can't wait till they make the ones that subliminally flash the words "Obey" over everything, like the inverse of They Live. Or the ones that selectively alter your world view, making your friends look less ugly, and the environment less polluted. Ah, sweet blessed miracles of science.

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