Virtual Reality Contact Lenses Could Be Available by 2014

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Contact lenses that help enhance normal vision with megapixel 3D panoramic images are being designed by scientists using military funding.

For those who do not want to rely on contact lenses, future versions could involve lenses directly implanted within the eye, researchers added.

Over the decades, the video displays that everyone from fighter pilots to the general public use have grown increasingly complex. One possibility for advanced displays is a virtual reality (VR) system that replaces our view of the real world with computer-generated vistas. Another idea consists of augmented reality (AR) displays that overlay computer-generated images over real-world environments. However, these often require bulky apparatus such as oversized helmets.

“Unless the display industry can deliver transparent, high-performance and compact eyewear, developers of augmented reality and other compelling media applications will simply fail to create the excitement that consumers crave and the functionality that professional users absolutely need,” said Steve Willey, chief executive officer of Bellevue, Wash.-based company Innovega.

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