Thursday, 22 August 2019 08:31 GMT

US Military soldiers could wear smart contact lenses on battlefield

(MENAFN - NewsBytes)

US Military soldiers could wear smart contact lenses on battlefield
06 May 2019

Last month, a group of French researchers developed a revolutionary connected lens to augment human visual capabilities in more ways than one could imagine.

The technology is still being developed but reports suggest that the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has already expressed interest in the system to improve visual capabilities of soldiers on the battlefield.

Here's how that could happen.

'Connected' contact lens with flexible micro-battery

Researchers hailing from IMT Atlantique have developed what they call the first autonomous contact lens with a flexible micro-battery.

The light, wirelessly-connected lens, as the researchers say, will be able to provide augmented reality based visual assistance and relay information wirelessly back to the source.

This, apparently, has drawn the attention of DARPA, which has been looking to develop something similar for US soldiers.

Flexible battery is the biggest highlight

The best thing about this lens is its flexible battery which can supply a light source such as a light-emitting diode (LED) for several hours. Meaning, there's no need of an external power source to run the connected smart lens.

How military soldiers could use this tech

If DARPA invests in this tech, its search for a small-scale tech to augment the vision of soldiers could finally come to an end.

It's not clear how this lens would enhance soldiers' vision, but going by previous investments from the agency, we expect it could be used for magnifying objects or adding capabilities aimed at giving them a tactical advantage on the battlefield.

Even Microsoft has expressed interest in the tech
Added interest

Along with DARPA, Microsoft has also expressed interest in IMT Atlantique's connected contact lens, French business magazine L'Usine Nouvelle reported.

To note, the tech giant has already bagged a multi-million dollar contract to supply US Military with 100,000 modified HoloLens 2 headsets.

The headset would provide soldiers field view in AR as well as AR Map, thermal imagery, and reticle for shooting.

Smart lens could be used in other fields too

Having said that, it's worth noting that the connected contact lens could be employed for several other applications.

Its augmented vision and wireless data relay, for instance, could be used for providing driving assistance or for helping with surgeries in hospitals.

The researchers even say they could enhance the capabilities of these lenses with graphene-based flexible materials.

Now, the lenses will be evolved and tested

Speaking to L'Usine Nouvelle, Jean-Louis Bougrenet de la Tocnaye, the leader of IMT's smart lens efforts, claimed "all the elements for the tech are ready."

"We should integrate it in October 2019 and hope to start testing in 2020", he said, noting that the clinical tests will follow after the initial tests are completed.

Notably, DARPA has not commented on the report so far.


US Military soldiers could wear smart contact lenses on battlefield

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