superman

Scientists Find Way To Embed Lasers Into Contact Lenses

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As someone with relatively bad eyesight, I am highly interested in information around how to improve my eyesight, or at least make it so that I don’t have to wear super thick glasses in the future.  Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever think about having laser vision.  I mean, who would?  You’re not a superhero, I think.  And honestly, if you could pick an ability to have, wouldn’t you pick something like the ability to fly or be invisible.  Mine would be to travel far distances in a short amount of time.  I already have superhuman strength, so that’s not as useful to me.  But now, researchers at the University of St. Andrews have developed the ability to add a laser membrane to a contact lens.

My first thought is – we are living in the future and a science fiction movie all at the same time.  The work, which was published in Nature Communications, describes the development of the thin laser membrane which was created using organic semiconductors. The university suggests that the lasers could have “security, biophotonics, and photomedicine” applications.” The lasers, however, aren’t overly bright and were tested on a cow’s eye in order to determine if they were functional.  Note – the eye wasn’t in the cow when tested.  That still doesn’t sound great, but please know that the cow donated his body to science.

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Sticking a laser into your eye might sound dangerous, and you’d be right.  But researchers say that their invention is totally safe for the use on a human eye.  That said, building a tiny laser into a contact lens isn’t the only idea that scientists have thought of.  They also believe that the thin lasers could be built into paper currency and added as a security feature.  Huh?

Professor Ifor Samuel states:

By floating a thin plastic film off a substrate we have made some of the world’s smallest and lightest lasers and put them on contact lenses and bank notes.

I repeat – huh?  I’m not sure that I completely understand the security measure here.  But if they say it will work, I will wait for it to be added to my new $20.  Malte gather, another professor at the university explained this:

Our work represents a new milestone in laser development and, in particular, points the way to how lasers can be used in inherently soft and ductile environments, be it in wearable sensors or as an authentication feature on bank notes.

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In lamens terms, the lasers aren’t going to be used to make you superhuman.  Or give you the ability to shoot lasers from your eyes, although those are both really cool ideas.  All it will do is allow a device to scan you, your passport, or even your money to verify its legitimacy. I mean, if you want a Nexus card, you get your retina scanned to verify that it’s you, so why not add another layer of security?  That said, I think that this could be used in ways to “fool” law enforcement, so I’m not sure that my example is the best one in this instance.  That said, this is a really cool development and sure to shake up the industry.

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