[Ben Krasnow] sticks LEDs in his contacts just for kicks

[Ben Krasnow] wrote in, saying that every so often a news story appears covering a project in which researchers embed a single pixel LED display inside a contact lens. The most recent article he saw featured a contact-wearing rabbit, and not being one to shy away from damaging his own body in the name of science, he decided to try the experiment on himself.

He started out by soldering a tiny 0402 SMD LED to a hand wound coil, laminating the display between a pair of regular contact lenses. After trying to adhere the lenses to one another using water, he opted to tack the edges together with a pair of hot tweezers, making for a more secure but uncomfortable piece of eyewear. The LED is powered by a simple inductive coil he put together, which uses a spark gap transmitter to flash the LED on and off.

If you’re not freaked out by people sticking things in their eyes, be sure to check out the video below to see [Ben’s] augmented contact lens in action. While it might not give him Terminator-like vision, it’s pretty awesome considering he pieced it together in his workshop in his spare time.

86 thoughts on “[Ben Krasnow] sticks LEDs in his contacts just for kicks

    1. No it doesn’t… He’s putting something on the surface of his eye… you know, like where millions of people (him included) put contact lenses every day.

      If this freaks you out never watch someone learning how to put contact lenses in for the first time, you’ll probably vomit yourself inside out. Their eyeballs go bright red and the user frequently pokes themselves in the eyeball while trying to remove it.

  1. I’m going to more or less add to the “flames”. This is quite amateuristic regardless of the relative care the guy took.

    Distilled water is not guaranteed to be sterile. The moment it comes into contact with air you can be rather sure it’s not sterile anymore (if it ever was).

    Soft contact lenses will conform to shapes they come into contact with, including the search coil and the led. If anything sticks out it could damage the cornea (front part of the eye) through the contact lens.

    Also, the electronics are touched many times during construction. Are they properly sterilized?

    Finally, putting partially burned plastic in the eye?

    I have seen people doing talks about how they got an emergency corneal transplant because they were sloppy with lenses and got their eye messed up by an infection.

    By the way, this can be done properly. A scleral lens as used for special effects could be modified to “house” the same electronics and be safe to wear for some hours at a time.

    (disclosure: I have received a corneal transplant due to keratoconus and can have rather strong opinions about eye care at moments)

  2. Probably better off using printed coil(s) on the outside of the lens, less risk of damage.

    Also, even an 0402 SMD LED is many times the size of a grain of sand so you need to be sure there are no exposed sharp edges..

  3. Probably a stupid question, but why exactly isn’t there a device that can detect the presence of A.keratitis (aka the pathogen responsible for the corneal damage) in a given water sample or contact, clean or otherwise and alert the user?

  4. I for one am very impressed with this guy’s work. I didn’t read all the comments that were posted but the general ideas of “screw that”, “it’s disgusting”, and, “infection OMG” should be put aside for this, but still taken into consideration. This is a frontier that even major corporations are scared/slow to handle and he is doing it in his house! It may not be perfect but I doubt very many “first time idea/applications” are. Think of the first surgeries or anything like that. It’s not a comfortable subject but it needed to happen for humanity to make progress. If you want to see something really gross, go to youtube and watch how they remove cataracts. As far as sanitation goes, this guy seems well rounded enough to build circuits like this as well as care for his eyes using contacts for 10+ years, then I think he can monitor his own eyes for possible infections. Bravo…

  5. this seems useless as its results have already been seen in rabbits eye, whats the point,productivity or innovation in proving one can replicate a already innovated idea? and what purpose does it serve as far as a bigger picture is concerned? why not try something original like 20 pixels or use smaller wires and microscopes make a more complex design? why use leds? you can use other things that emit light that are far smaller…

  6. this would be awesome in combination with johnny lee chungs use of a wii controller to trach head movement, put an ir led in the contacts and you get even better eye tracking

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