For many years, now, Google, Microsoft, and other similar companies have been fighting to find a way to bring technology into our immediate line of sight – our eyes.
The Google Glass was pretty much a failed project, although it had some techies willing to try it out, but not as a permanent solution. Microsoft’s Hololens is great to some extent, but it’s expensive and certainly not something anyone would wear on a day to day basis.
A few years ago, the idea that technology could be inserted straight into your eye to help you navigate to the store, check out news, or whatever else you want to do was some futuristic thought. Nowadays, it’s a reality.
A company from Kentucky, United States, called Omega Ophthalmics, has a patent for a prosthetic capsular device. This cool prosthetic can be inserted into the eye, right beneath the iris. The hole can be filled with lenses that can be used to correct eyesight problems, which can be “updated” later on, as age starts affecting the eye even more. The whole procedure is far less invasive than pretty much any eye operation currently available, and just involves sticking a syringe’s needle in the eye and placing both the prosthetic capsular device and the lens with it. Yes, we know how that sounds and that everyone cringes at the thought of a needle going anywhere near their eyes, but when it comes to ophthalmologic procedures, that’s the norm.
Called the Omega Gemini Capsule Refractive, this device could further be used for the placement of biometric sensors, or any other technological devices. The patent mentions that the capsule could support any device that provides biometric measurement functions, computer functions, image generation and projection onto the retina, and Internet/WiFi capabilities. They could very well be able to receive data from a connected phone, for instance, via Bluetooth, radio signals, WiFi, and/or analog and digital cellular format signals.
“This data may be processed and output in the form of a visual display that could be projected onto the retina, creating the perception of a digital heads-up display, for example how Google Glass employed this technology in an external device,” the patent explains.
Now, this capsule is revolutionary in itself, even for the most basic purpose – improving someone’s eyesight, given the possibility to upgrade the lens at a further date, as required, with minimal invasiveness. When given the transhumanism applications, it’s even more impressive. The only thing missing right now is the right device to fill in the space beneath our iris that is capable of any of the things the company thought about. Whether that’s projecting information onto your retina, or just sending back data about our health, such as glucose level, electrolyte level, temperature, heart rate, intraocular pressure, and more.
The implications of eye implants
Of course, there are many implications that come with such technology, primarily related to privacy. Much like it happened with Google Glass, knowing that someone, somewhere, can record your actions without your consent is scary. Taking into consideration everyone’s right to privacy is something of an ethical problem, but it’s one that in this day and age might not really matter that much, not with CCTV cameras everywhere you turn, smartphones that can be pointed towards you at any given time, and so on. What makes the difference here, however, is the fact that these implants cannot be seen – they don’t hold that “red led” that we’ve come to associate with a recording taking place, although this is only still common now in TV stations.
On the other hand, if we set the privacy aspect aside, we have an incredible opportunity here. While smart lenses have been thought of before, such as the one developed by Google and Novartis years back, which featured a way for diabetics to always know what their sugar levels were thanks to a sensor in the lens, those were not deemed feasible because sugar levels aren’t as accurately drawn from tears, as they’re from blood.
This new product leaves room for a wide range of applications, with sensors being capable of telling the temperature, intraocular pressure, heart rate, and more. The transhumanism applications, however, the devices that can be added not just for health-related purposes, is immense. From camera functions for image or video recordings, to reading emails and virtual maps, to “living” the games we’re playing – the possibilities are endless.
The patent mentions the multiple uses this type of technology has for intelligence agents, for instance, or special forces soldiers and police officer and firefighters, or astronauts. But, with the waves made by Google Glass, this technology will become something the masses are interested in, especially since the largest issue they had with Google’s invention was the fact that they looked funny wearing it and that it was too bulky. Cut that issue out and you’ll get something like the Omega Gemini.
The company has already run trials on animals and is planning to start human trials soon, with the chosen location for the tests being San Salvador, El Salvador.