Materials

Eye-Controlled, Soft Robotic Lens

University of California San Diego researchers have developed a soft robotic lens whose movements are controlled by the human eye. The system is designed to mimic how the eye works. Blinking enables the lens to zoom in and out; look left, right, up, or down and the lens will follow. The prototype system responds to the electric signals generated around the eyes during movement, called electrooculographic signals. Electrode patches placed on the skin around the eyes measure these signals, and transmit them through a signal processor to the lens. The lens itself is made up of salt water encased within two electroactive elastomer films that act like muscles. They can expand, contract, or change their structure when an electrical potential is applied. Potential applications include visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, VR, and soft robots that can see.