A bionic contact lens has been invented that ‘presses’ images onto the surface of the eye to help the brain decipher through touch what the wearer is looking at. The lens, invented by Israeli researcher Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, works in much the same was as Braille allows people who are blind to ‘see’ the written word.
Prototypes tested on healthy people indicate that the non-invasive device is quick to come to terms with. After a few minutes of learning how to associate actual images with the sensations they felt on their fingertips, people who participated in the trial could actually “see” using the bionic contact lens.
According to reports, the lens uses electrical signals sent to it from a small transponder, clipped to a pair of glasses or downloaded to a smartphone. A regular off-the-shelf camera, like the one inside a phone, ‘looks” at a pedestrian crossing, items for sale in a retail store, or a family member for instance, then transmits the encoded image via the lens to the wearer’s cornea. The image gets translated into a tactile sensation that can be interpreted visually.