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Contact lenses upgrade your eyes to enable true immersive VR

January 19, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
January 17, 2012 by Evan Ackerman via -- Our eyes are just not built for the future. It sucks, but it's true. We can't physically focus on things that are very close to us, which is why we're not all rocking high-resolution immersive virtual reality displays built into our eyeglasses. How do we fix this problem? Simple: we upgrade our eyeballs.

We've posted about head-mounted VR displays a lot around here, but there's always a compromise going on: you can have a small, slick system that projects a little image with a narrow field of view, or you can have a gigantic bulky system that projects a big image with a wide field of view. The reason that you can't have the best of both worlds (a big projected display in a small system) is that our eyes simply cannot focus on images displayed at the distance of a pair of glasses. We can sort of fake it by fooling our eyes into thinking that the image is actually farther away, but doing this takes a lot of clunky optics, especially if you're going for something that looks halfway decent.

The obvious solution, then, is to modify our eyes to enable them to focus on objects that are much, much closer. It's not very hard to do this: you just need contact lenses. The hard part is creating a contact lens that keeps the rest of the world in focus while allowing you to view extremely close-up displays at the same time, but this is what a company called Innovega has managed to do.

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