Everything we know about smart contact lenses in 2024

Article by Chew’s Optics Specialist. 24 February 2024

Everything we know about smart contact lenses in 2024 | Chew 's Optics

We live in an age where generative AI is fast becoming a norm, countries and companies are racing to embrace digital transformation, and now there’s a smart version of almost everything: smart homes, smart glasses, and if you can believe it, smart contact lenses.


What was once a mere fantasy in sci-fi novels and movies has become a reality. It started with smart glasses. One of the first ones was launched in 2013 by Google, and although it failed to take off then, it paved the way for other brands to refine the technology. After a decade, we now have smart glasses from the likes of Ray-Ban, Meta and Amazon that serve as headphones, cameras and augmented reality headsets.


Now that the industry has successfully launched smart glasses, the natural next step is to venture into smart contact lenses. From possible applications to the latest developments, here’s everything we know so far about this experimental, new tech.

What are smart contact lenses?

Imagine ordinary contact lenses, embedded with a microchip, antenna and sensors. This is the basic idea of what smart contact lenses might look like. These high-tech wearable devices can potentially be applied in a variety of ways, with possible functions such as:


  • Automatically focusing on near and distant objects
  • Providing night vision without having to wear separate goggles
  • Administering eye medication directly from the lenses
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels by measuring the glucose in the individual’s tears
  • Using the individual’s tears to detect signs of other diseases
  • Zooming in and out to view distant or small objects
  • Recording videos and taking photos
  • Overlaying augmented reality images and information into the real world
The latest innovations in smart contact lenses

The latest innovations in smart contact lenses

The most recent innovation, bringing us closer to the realization of smart contact lenses, was developed by a team of researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.


In 2023, the NTU team announced that they had invented a type of flexible battery that is powered by tears. A project four years in the making, the prototype is as thin as a human cornea, and is able to generate and store electricity when immersed in a special saline solution, according to associate professor Lee Seok Woo of NTU’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.


The battery, which can be used up to 200 times, uses a glucose-based coating for charging purposes, making it safe to wear. So far, when charged, it has been able to send data through Bluetooth to a smartphone for up to 12 hours – a major achievement that provides the foundation for powering other contact lens technologies.

When will smart contact lenses be available?

When will smart contact lenses be available?

Despite the progress we’ve made so far, it’s still possible for scientists to get stuck in other areas of development, where the technology has not caught up with our lofty ideas yet.


Here’s an example: Nine years ago, talk of self-driving cars was rampant. People spoke about autonomous vehicles as if they would become an everyday feature without a doubt. It was even predicted that by 2020, there would be 10 million driverless cars on the road. Obviously, that didn’t happen. While predictions of self-driving cars keep getting pushed back into the distant future, a few companies have already abandoned their pursuit of developing this technology.


We’re seeing this happen in companies working on smart contact lens projects as well. Mojo Vision, a tech company working on augmented reality smart contact lenses, decided to drop the project in early 2023. Health tech company Verily Life Sciences, previously working on contact lenses that monitor the wearer’s blood glucose levels, has also paused work on their project.


In the realm of smart contact lenses, experts say we’re still years away from a viable product. In fact, it could take years for us to start conducting human tests with smart contact lens prototypes, considering the physical risks involved. If the improper use of regular contact lenses can still pose serious hazards today, it will no doubt be even trickier when it comes to wearable tech that comes in direct contact with your eyes.

Looking for traditional contact lenses? Visit us at Chew’s Optics

While we wait for more updates and developments in the area of smart contact lenses, you can keep shopping for traditional ones at Chew’s Optics. Our optical shop carries various types of contact lenses including disposable contacts, coloured contacts, iris enhancing contacts, and astigmatism contacts. We also provide contact lens examinations – an important process that ensures you’re given the right prescription and the best fitting contact lenses, tailored just for you.


Visit our optometrist and optical shop, which is situated at 144 Teck Whye Lane, #01-211, Singapore. We are open every day except Mondays and Fridays. You can also drop us a message or call us on WhatsApp at +65 8314 7093.

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