Samsung appears to be exploring the possibility of smart contact lenses

New patent filing details alternative AR plans
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A new patent granted to Samsung suggests the company could be exploring the development of smart contact lenses.

Augmented reality glasses may be one thing, but harnessing the technology in contact lenses is a new frontier altogether, albeit one we've known is on the radar of tech giants for some time. Google announced back in 2014 it was working on the concept, after all.

Read this: Augmented reality explained

As detailed in the patent, Samsung's proposed lenses could layer information, such as directions, onto the user's vision of the world, more directly and less obstructively than smartglasses. And, as we discovered earlier this year, such lenses could also be useful for health tracking.

An example explains that the lenses could project light directly onto the user's retina to give them the desired information visually. Said information would be transmitted to the lens from an external device of some sort.

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Samsung's design ideas show a multi-layered lens with a tiny display unit mounted in its centre, and an array of other elements arranged around it. The minute thin-film camera is potentially capable of capturing your exact viewpoint, too.

The lenses even pack in a motion sensor to detect any movement the lens is subject to, and a capacitor to power the display and components.

The lenses have the potential to offer a far wider field of view than glasses, because of the way they use the surface of the lens, making for better augmented reality, which will be good news for those in search of immersion.

Exactly how the lenses would function as far as user experience is concerned isn't concrete yet, of course. However, the inclusion of an antenna in the design images means that the lenses would potentially have the capacity to pair with a range of devices, or perhaps a companion app.

Is the Korean company serious about producing smart contact lenses? That remains to be seen, though the fact it's exploring it in patent filings suggests, at least, an initial interest is there.

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Max Freeman-Mills

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Reporter Max Freeman-Mills joined the Wareable team as a journalism graduate. He's gone on to be contributing editor at Pocketlint, as a skilled technology journalist and expert.

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