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Pentagon orders innovative dual-focus contact lenses

Pentagon orders innovative dual-focus contact lenses

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The Pentagon has placed an order for innovative contact lenses that using dual-focus technology to offer the military wider fields of vision.

The Pentagon has placed an order for innovative contact lenses that using dual-focus technology to offer wearers a wider field of vision.

The iOptik lenses, created by Washington-based Innovega Inc., are paired with a compact 'Heads Up Display' (HUD) -- a transparent display that presents real-time data and images without requiring a user to change their focus or viewpoints.

Aimed at granting troops heightened awareness in field operations, the lens dual-focus technology makes it possible to simultaneously focus on what is close to your eye and on distant objects without detrimental effects to normal vision.

This is possible due to separate filters being placed in each lens -- which supports viewing both close and distant sources of light in focus simultaneously.

In each lens, the central parts send light from the HUD to the middle of the wearer's pupil, while the outer areas forward light to the pupil's rim.

"Normally, for example, with a camera you focus on something distant or something close... By wearing our contact lens you automatically have this multi-focus, or dual-focus, and you are doing something that humans don't usually do," said chief executive of Innoveg Steve Willey.

Earlier this week, the company signed a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to supply a functional prototype of the iOptik system.

The U.S. military and Air Force already use similar technology in military operations, but the current technology is reportedly far bulkier than the iOptik prototype.

The initial funding required for the project was provided by the United States Department of Defense.

The chief executive also hopes this technology may eventually enter the consumer market for entertainment or gaming purposes.

(via BBC)

Image credit: Innovega

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure