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Company Designs MEMS-Based Energy Harvester for Contact Lenses

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Charles Murray
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Mind boggling
Charles Murray   8/8/2013 2:57:41 PM
So...an eye blink applies a mechanical stress to the piezo element, which creates electrical current in response? I'm having trouble getting a handle on this. Does the blink stretch the piezo material? Does it bend the piezo? Is one side of the piezelectric element in tension while the other side is in compression, like the bending of a beam? The whole idea that electricity can be created by something as small as an eyeblink is mind boggling.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Mind boggling
Elizabeth M   8/9/2013 10:12:11 AM
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I know, this technology is sort of mind-blowing, Chuck, and unfortunately, Michael didn't want to go into detail about the actual design for proprietary reasons. Because of this, I'm not 100 percent exactly sure how it works, but what you're envisioning or some combination thereof is probably about right. I think it's quite incredible technology but I guess we will have to see it in practice, which I think is still in the works.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Mind boggling
Elizabeth M   8/9/2013 10:17:54 AM
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The other thing about this technology that I have trouble wrapping my head around (as a contact lens user) is just exactly where all the information will appear, and how I can turn it off. Can you imagine some kind of malfunction and instead of your normal vision, you're looking at stock quotes or something?? It all feels very Matrix-like and a bit unsettling, but also exciting.

etmax
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Re: Mind boggling
etmax   8/9/2013 10:23:41 AM
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I'd like to see this power electronics and actuators that allow a contact lens to be flexed like our own cornea to overcome the shortcomings of contact lenses and glasses to provide normal vision to the millions afflicted. Anyhow, Thanks very much for posting

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Mind boggling
Ann R. Thryft   8/9/2013 11:28:44 AM
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Aside from the Matrix-like aspects and your malfunction nightmare, Elizabeth, this seems to be an ingenious form of energy harvesting. But how much can really be harvested by such small movements?

Charles Murray
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Re: Mind boggling
Charles Murray   8/9/2013 3:47:24 PM
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Yes, Ann, it is nightmarish to think you might suddenly and inexplicably be looking at stock quotes in front of your eyeball while you're tooling down the road or watching a movie. But I also agree with you that the miniscule amount of energy involved probably would prevent most of those scenarios from ever happening. After all, how much energy can be available from an eyeblink?   

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Mind boggling
Ann R. Thryft   8/12/2013 1:03:01 PM
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That is a scary scenario, Chuck. I guess what I'm wondering is whether the small amounts of energy generated are sufficient for powering the tiny electronics that deliver the info. I'd bet that next-gen contact lens tech as described in the article probably don't need high levels of power and the article points out that the human eye is always moving, even in sleep--that's definitely true for, at least, REM sleep stages (aka dreaming).



Cabe Atwell
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Re: Mind boggling
Cabe Atwell   8/27/2013 2:02:58 PM
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Are we finally going to be able to buy night-vision, AR-overlay contact lenses, and if so will they be available in a disposable form that's affordable?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Mind boggling
Ann R. Thryft   8/27/2013 4:11:39 PM
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That's a great question, Cabe. I like your science-fiction- on-the-cusp-of-becoming-real-scenarios.



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