Patent application suggests Samsung is researching Internet-connected displays controlled by eye movements
Samsung has applied for a patent that would embed a smartphone-powered display in contact lenses and could be powered by eye movements and blinking.
The South Korean patent application, filed in 2014, doesn’t necessarily point to a specific product, but indicates Samsung is carrying out research in the area of “augmented reality”, which aims to integrate Internet-connected devices into a user’s daily experience.
So far the best-known example of such a device is the Google Glass headset, which the search giant developed and tested with members of the public for several years before shutting down the prototype project in January of last year, saying it intends to take Glass in a new direction.
In its prototype phase, Glass failed to attract broad user interest, with some members of the public finding it disturbing to think that users could be covertly recording images at any time.
In Samsung’s patent, the company argues that headsets such as Glass offer poor viewing angles and image quality, and that an OLED display embedded between soft contact lens layers could solve these problems.
The display described in the application would be wirelessly connected to a smartphone, which would carry out data processing functions and would retrieve data from the Internet.
The 29-page form describes applications such as heads-up navigation instructions, taking a photo by blinking and carrying out Internet searches related to what the user is looking at.
The Korean-language application, reported earlier by Samsung-oriented blog SamMobile, doesn’t seem to have been approved – it’s listed as a “new application” and its status is “unexamined”.
Google is also researching smart contact lenses, but its device – currently in development with Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis – is aimed at monitoring diabetics’ glucose levels by analysing eye fluids.
The two companies said the project could be further developed to help restore patients’ eyes’ ability to focus.
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