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Contact Lenses With Infrared Vision?

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.

Input Devices 99

Orlando (12257) writes "A story on Singularity Hub reports that "Researchers at the University of Michigan, led by electrical engineer Zhaohui Zhong, have devised a way to capture the infrared spectrum without requiring the cooling that makes infrared goggles so cumbersome." The method uses graphene and could one day lead to ultra light weight infrared vision technology."

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Not practical as contact lenses (4, Interesting)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 7 months ago | (#46620481)

Infrared essentially blocks out normal vision. While this may be useful as wearable computing, it wouldn't be useful if you had to poke around in your eye every time you needed to switch back to normal vision.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620533)

Why the fuck would you need normal vision?

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46620565)

To play video games?

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (4, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46620965)

For videogames, what you need is X-ray vision. The ability to see the electric signals in the LCD gril before they hit the actual pixels will give you an advantage of several milliseconds compared to your opponents. The same principle applies to Monster cables' gold-plated, titanium-coated, oxygen-free optical cables which give you pure digital audio, free of data which are not zeros or ones.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 7 months ago | (#46623831)

For videogames, what you need is X-ray vision. The ability to see the electric signals in the LCD gril before they hit the actual pixels will give you an advantage of several milliseconds compared to your opponents. The same principle applies to Monster cables' gold-plated, titanium-coated, oxygen-free optical cables which give you pure digital audio, free of data which are not zeros or ones.

Awesome - can I get x-ray hearing too to get that pure sound before it's deformed by the speakers and all the crap in my room?

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46623925)

Nope, for that you're going to need infrared hearing.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

kryliss (72493) | about 7 months ago | (#46624715)

I hate my cheap speaker cables which often allows 2's into the signal. :(

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 7 months ago | (#46625543)

Monster cables' gold-plated, titanium-coated, oxygen-free optical cables

Thank you for this. lmao

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about 7 months ago | (#46620591)

Exactly. I'm not sure why it needs to jump directly to contacts. Why not just regular sunglasses? The article even says "...that makes infrared goggles so cumbersome." So, great! Now you can pack all of that down into a standard pair of glasses that you can easily put on and take off, even when your fingers are filthy from crawling in the dirt during combat.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (5, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 7 months ago | (#46621241)

I can see a business model where you'd sell these glasses from the backs of comic books.

Peril-Sensitive Bifocals! (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 7 months ago | (#46635599)

Bifocals would let you see either IR or regular colors. Add photo-sensitive gray to the regular part....

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (3, Interesting)

RNLockwood (224353) | about 7 months ago | (#46620767)

When I go out to the desert on a clear day I'm getting a lot of infrared, if it blocked out normal vision I wouldn't need sunglasses (except that the glasses block UV). Perhaps what was meant is that the lens that would be needed to focus the light would block the IR and the lens for IR would block visible light. That's generally true except for near IR (NIR) but to separate NIR from visible IR a filter to do that would be used just as it is used in digital cameras.

The article implies that it works across the IR spectrum but that's enormously wide - from about 700 nm to 1 mm wavelength with ever decreasing energy in the photons.

I think that there is less information in the press release than meets the eye.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 7 months ago | (#46620991)

I think it would be more like how the military uses night vision - one eye for normal vision, one eye for night vision wear, or in this case, infrared contacts.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

RobotSpider (3489367) | about 7 months ago | (#46621101)

I wonder if an inductive current or magnetic field could be used to toggle them 'on' and 'off'?

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46621755)

IR contact lenses have a lot bigger problems than just how do you turn it off. Press a button to go back to normal vision. Any contact lens application would require a screen integrated into the lens (which we can't do yet anyway). Adding a button to turn it off is trivial in comparison.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (2)

rtaylor (70602) | about 7 months ago | (#46622471)

Close your IR eye and open your normal vision eye.

Same idea as pirates moving their patch from one eye to the other when going from surface to inside the dark ship.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 months ago | (#46623491)

Wouldn't that actually make the closed eye light up? Since you eyelid is filled with blood vessels which are body temperature.

Give me Predator Vision! (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 7 months ago | (#46621971)

Give me Predator Vision! This would totally rock, but would prefer light weight glasses instead of contact lenses.

The human eye can already see UV (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 7 months ago | (#46622035)

Its the lens that blocks it - and does so in all apes and monkeys. However people who've had their lens replaced due to cataracts or some other eye problem often find they can see UV (eg dark lights in clubs or lamps to check for forged notes) depending on the material the lens is made of. I suppose in theory - in some distopian future - the military could replace soldiers lenses then equip them with UV torches. No contacts or glasses required.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 7 months ago | (#46623037)

Infrared essentially blocks out normal vision. While this may be useful as wearable computing, it wouldn't be useful if you had to poke around in your eye every time you needed to switch back to normal vision.

You are missing the point. (And must not need bifocals!)

It would be useful if I could put one IR-capable contact lens in one eye, while having a regular lens in the other eye. This would be fantastic for driving at night, or hunting those pesky pack rats that live in my backyard.

Many people who need bifocals use a different lens in each eye for distance and reading. Some also get laser-corrected to this state. Most peoples' brains are able to successfully merge the different images, but some are not. (So it is better to try it with contacts before lasik!!!)

Also impossible (2)

Chalnoth (1334923) | about 7 months ago | (#46623269)

The article describes a technique for sensing infrared light, turning it into an electric current. It's not possible to do that and display an image on a contact lens that we could actually focus on (you can't focus on something that's right on your eye).

The only way to make a contact lens that would allow somebody to see infrared light would be to have a lens made out of a material such that when it receives an infrared photon, it absorbs that photon and emits a visible-light photon traveling in the same direction. That's very much not going to be possible with a technology built for sensing in this manner. The use of this tech would basically be lighter-weight infrared goggles and other sensors.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46623605)

Infrared essentially blocks out normal vision.

Adding spectrum does not guarantee that you also have to subtract spectrum. The only reason you would block out visible light is because it is useful to the application.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46626107)

How about just one IR lens? You could wear an eyepatch so it wasn't too distracting, then, when you wanted to scan the IR, you just flip it up like a lyin pirate and scan away.

Re:Not practical as contact lenses (1)

tsotha (720379) | about 7 months ago | (#46626159)

The latest infrared goggles actually integrate infrared and normal vision. Probably be awhile before we can fit all that processing into contacts, though.

What will it look like? (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46620493)

Will it be like seeing a whole new colour, or will the infrared spectrum still need to be translated into the already visible spectrum? Judging by the article it seems to be the second, but the first would be much cooler.

Cool? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46620519)

Will it be like seeing a whole new colour, or will the infrared spectrum still need to be translated into the already visible spectrum? Judging by the article it seems to be the second, but the first would be much cooler.

Just let me insert this connector into your brain...

Re:Cool? (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46620545)

I think being able to see a new color would be a reasonable trade-off for the risks of neurosurgery.

Re:Cool? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46621269)

I think being able to see a new color would be a reasonable trade-off for the risks of neurosurgery.

Possibly ..... but I wouldn't want to be one of the first!

Re:Cool? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46627105)

I don't know, the extra utility just may offset the frustration of trying to describe the new color to everyone who finds out. It would be like trying to describe green to someone who's only ever seen combinations of red and blue.

Re:Cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46631053)

I get migraines, and the hallucination/auras I see are unlike any color that exists in real life. It is, by far, the most disorienting and nausea inducing thing I have ever experienced, and I've flown on the 'vomit comet'. I can't even think about the auras without physically shuddering.

So be careful what you wish for in what you consider a reasonable trade-off for neurosurgery.

Re:Cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620613)

So, we just blink and the TV channel will change?

Re:Cool? (5, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46620747)

So, we just blink and the TV channel will change?

No, but you will be blinded when using the remote control..

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620539)

Modifying the brain so it can imagine more colors is beyond our technological abilities.

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621247)

I think it's beyond our abilities at all, it seems. Trying to make something that we can't imagine...

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621301)

I don't think we need to tinker with brains, we just need the rods and or cones for the spectrum.

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620571)

Don't expect to see a whole new color until someone is wiring implants into your brain. Just sayin'.

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620611)

Well the first "option" would require injecting new infrared photo receptors to your eye, rerouting your nerves and teaching your brain to recognize new signals as a new color. Yeah sure you can do it with a contact lens, you just need to smear some applied phenolium into your eye.

How you perceive colors is stuck in your brain, how your neural networks have learned to handle different signals coming from photo receptors in your eye. You basically need to rewire half your visual cortex to teach your brain to see a new color and you need your photo receptors to send different signals for the new color in question.

Not so easy is it?

Re:What will it look like? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46627115)

The brain is actually pretty adaptive. There are devices on the market that allow blind people to "see" by placing electrodes on their tongues. The power is so small the wearer doesn't feel it, but after a while starts to perceive objects in front of them (captured by a camera and fed to the electrode).

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620673)

You can't really be this stupid.

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620731)

Will it be like seeing a whole new colour, or will the infrared spectrum still need to be translated into the already visible spectrum? Judging by the article it seems to be the second, but the first would be much cooler.

Seeing a whole new color (without invasive surgery) is biologically impossible.

The whole point is that your eyes, nervous system and brain are physically incapable of processing another color. No contact lens or other external tools are ever going to change that.

Re:What will it look like? (5, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46621149)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

relevant part: "Humans cannot perceive UV light directly since the lens of the eye blocks most light in the wavelength range of 300-400 nm; shorter wavelengths are blocked by the cornea.[18] Nevertheless, the photoreceptors of the retina are sensitive to near UV light and people lacking a lens (a condition known as aphakia) perceive near UV light as whitish blue or whitish-violet, probably because all three types of cones are roughly equally sensitive to UV light, but blue cones a bit more.[19]"

A new colour, and all you have to do to be able to see it is have no lens.

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621257)

most valuable post on the whole thread! Thanks!

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621421)

And humans with the lens can see that color since it only excites red green and blue cones, you can represent it in rgb so it's not a new color that normal humans can't see.

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621627)

Whiteish and whiteish-violet are existing colors. it is not a new color, it is just triggering the existing photorecepters in a new way.

Re:What will it look like? (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46621663)

How would you describe a color only you can see other than in terms of other colors?

Re:What will it look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46623593)

And that's not what's happening here. Those persons would see the same color whether they were looking at UV radiation or looking at some rgb specifically tailored to excites the red, green and blue cones in the same proportion the single wavelength UV does.

Re:What will it look like? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 7 months ago | (#46623775)

How would you describe red only in terms of blue and green? You can't. If the people were actually seeing a new color they wouldn't even try describing it.

Re:What will it look like? (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46623995)

I wouldn't, I would describe it in terms of orange and yellow, or pink and black.

Re:What will it look like? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46621813)

Lens removal would count as invasive surgery.

Re:What will it look like? (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46622789)

The limiting factor to seeing more colors is not in the brain. it is in the eyes themseves. It's my understanding that some frequencies get blocked out by the lens, but the far greater limitation is in the cones within the eye. The 3 major types of cones in human eyes (some people have more, but let's stick to the norm here) each respond to specific frequencies of photons, which create electrical signals that your brain interprets as color. If you changed the type of cones you had in your eyes, you would change the electrical signals received by the brain and could very easily end up seeing entirely new colors that you have never seen before. Particularly if the signals sent by the new types of cones were different than the regular ones. There's no reason at all to suspect that the brain would process different types of input in terms of what it already knows how to process beyond our own inability to imagine what it would actually be like.

People with 4 types of cones in their eyes can already quite easily perceive the differences in many hues and shades that are completely indistinguishable for an average individual who has otherwise even perfect visual clarity. Expanding the types of cones in the eyes to include UV or IR should, by all rights (amounts blocked by the lens itself notwithstanding), enable being able to see many entirely new colors as well.

Re:What will it look like? (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about 7 months ago | (#46621399)

Most humans have 3 color range receptors in the eye, some actually have 4 which results in a slightly extended range, and generally better color discrimination. Many other animals have receptors sensitive to colors beyond our visibility (in both directions). It is also being researched to provide missing color receptor genes for the color blind.

So, it follows that it will be possible to extend the overall range of color perception in the future. While interesting, and perhaps making the article's tech obsolete, it does raise the question of whether one would want the extended capability full time. It might be the case that controllable filter contacts would then be the /. article of 2040.

Re:What will it look like? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46621631)

It would probably be monochrome, so black and white vision.

I'm holding out for the X-ray frequencies (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 7 months ago | (#46620529)

"OK Contacts: Record!"

Re:I'm holding out for the X-ray frequencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46622433)

OK, contact, search for yourself!

Re:I'm holding out for the X-ray frequencies (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46622795)

Well, you may not need xray.

There was an issue a few years ago with some Sony cameras which more or less allowed you to make swimsuits transparent and the like.

In other words, with the right spectrum of infrared, people on beaches might appear naked already. I believe other fabrics under the right circumstances are essentially transparent to UV.

I predict this will be the leading use of these contacts.

You don't want to see IR (2)

barlevg (2111272) | about 7 months ago | (#46620583)

For practical purposes (like night vision), sure, definitely useful. But for everyday "recreational" use, you really don't want to see people's blood vessels, etc. Given the choice, I'd much rather see UV.

Re:You don't want to see IR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620863)

And doctors/nurses?

Re:You don't want to see IR (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 7 months ago | (#46621021)

But for everyday "recreational" use

Re:You don't want to see IR (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about 7 months ago | (#46620959)

For practical purposes (like night vision), sure, definitely useful. But for everyday "recreational" use, you really don't want to see people's blood vessels, etc. Given the choice, I'd much rather see UV.

Are you kidding? How about, "I would shake your hand, but according to my contacts, you have a fever."

Re:You don't want to see IR (2)

barlevg (2111272) | about 7 months ago | (#46621049)

YMMV, but for me I think this would fall in the same category as hotel room black lights or reviewing your restaurant's last health inspection: for the most part, it's just better not to know.

Re:You don't want to see IR (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 7 months ago | (#46621061)

You don't want to see IR

(Disclaimer: I am not a physicist, nor even a scientist).

The thing is, people talk about detecting or seeing "IR" as if it's a single entity, much like how they talk about seeing or detecting visible light. However, "IR" covers a much, *much* wider range than visible light (*) and "near" IR- which is just outside the visible light range- arguably has a lot more in common with visible light (and how it can be recorded) than the "far" IR closer to the other end, which is used in heat-sensitive cameras.

"Near" IR can be recorded on most regular digital cameras if the IR-blocking filter has been removed (i.e. they're sensitive to it by default and it has to be filtered out), or even if the IR-blocking filter is weak (some older cameras were like this). It looks interesting and different, much like how someone who can only see green or blue light might feel when seeing a photo of the red part of the spectrum. And it can be used for night vision if it's used with a near-IR light source (which people can't see, but is still easy to detect with unfiltered electronic sensors).

But it won't give you "heat vision" unless the thing you're viewing is so hot it's almost- but not quite- visibly glowing red (**). The wavelengths of IR given out by things at normal temperatures are much lower (i.e. closer to "far" IR) and require different detection equipment- the problem being of course that they traditionally had to be cooled to avoid detecting their own heat being emitted.

And in fact, IR-based "night vision" could refer to (at least) these two very different solutions- *either* the "easier but requires IR illumination" near-infrared device one could theoretically do with modified off-the-shelf camera sensors or far-infrared heat detection (i.e. detecting the objects' own heat).

Anyway, it sounds like this report is describing "heat vision" far-IR detection, since it mentions the problems with that, and how it gets around it. Just bear in mind that "infrared vision" could potentially refer to either near or far IR, and they're different kettles of fish.

(*) Visible light covers wavelengths from 380 to 700 nm (i.e. approx twofold difference from the shortest to the longest), IR covers from 700nm (0.7 micrometres) to 1mm (1000 micrometres), a factor of well over a thousand times difference!

(**) AFAIK this is as per:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org] , i.e. as something gets hotter, the frequencies it gives off generally increase, from far-infrared to near-infrared, to red and then to yellow. (Yellow becomes "white hot" rather than blue because it's still emitting significant amounts of lower frequencies). So if it's almost- but not *quite*- red hot, it'll be emitting signficant amounts of near-infrared. Much cooler, and the radiation will be of lower wavelength.

Re:You don't want to see IR (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46621839)

The article specifies mid-IR. And since the whole thing talks about cooled sensors, it's pretty clear that's what they're talking about.

Re:You don't want to see IR (1)

blincoln (592401) | about 7 months ago | (#46622521)

While that's true, most military night vision (which the article discusses repeatedly) is near-IR. Nearly all of the "bulky goggles" are of that type - including the one in the photo in the article, if I'm not mistaken.

Re:You don't want to see IR (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46622841)

The article mentions the military obliquely in the snappy opening patter ("Seeing the infrared spectrum has a number of applications that go beyond the nighttime war games glamorized in adventure flicks").

The only other mention (besides the picture) is near the end: "commando units wouldn’t be the only ones to wear souped up POV computers or contact lenses". I imagine commando units would quite like to have simple, portable mid-IR gear. Militaries seem to like sticking FLIR pods on everything they can. Yup turns out they would. [nationalde...gazine.org]

I'm not an expert, but I believe most military night vision uses primarily amplified ambient light [wikipedia.org] with the option to use IR floodlights if needed [nivisys.com] . Shining big IR spotlights around is probably not much better than shining big regular spotlights around now that everyone has IR cameras. I'm sure the journalist just looked up a cool stock photo of night vision goggles.

Re:You don't want to see IR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46626091)

Put on IR glasses. Walk into bar. Instantly pick out hottest chick.

Obligitory Cyberpunk Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620585)

Infrared, combined with Google glass readout of the current status of all of my cyberware. Need to recharge my arm.
Now if the large mega-corps would just let the US government know they are no longer necessary and start building their own self-sufficient neighborhoods.

they always come at night (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620599)

eye burning is not new we never saw us coming yet despite the charade of a defense from the invisible enemies http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nazi+zion+night+attacks&sm=3

great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620625)

just had lasik and I missed my opportunity to have laser eyes?

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621539)

You missed the box? It was right before the standard "I will give up all my rights and my soul and will never ever ever sue this company, no matter how they fuck up the operation, even if the person performing the operation is not qualified to operate the machinery."

Don't wear synthetics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620635)

I'm sure we've all seen the digital camera mods for removing the IR filter. It will certainly begin to influence peoples' choice of clothing fabric.

IR contact lenses will work only on zombies (1)

pesho (843750) | about 7 months ago | (#46620737)

Last time I checked the average body of a living human was fairly worm and a pretty bright IR source. Anyone wearing IR contact lenses will be blinded by the heat of their own eyeballs. That is unless they are zombies. Are we expecting a zombie pandemic anytime soon?

Re:IR contact lenses will work only on zombies (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 7 months ago | (#46621679)

I'd say if there's worms, it's not much of a bright IR source.

Utterly misleading post. (5, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | about 7 months ago | (#46620745)

A) Thermal imagers have not required cooling since approximately 1980.
(for other than extremely specialised applications.

B) Having a sensor does not magically mean it can be used in a contact lens.

You need electronics, LEDs, and focussing optics in order to get it into the eye in a coherent image.

Re:Utterly misleading post. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46620877)

Oh stop it... Stop talking technical details and let the poorly educated folk have their dreams...

Quite right you are. The advances may lead to cheaper, lighter and better devices, but I'm pretty sure you are correct. We are just not going to get something in a contact lenses that will let us see IR.

Re:Utterly misleading post. (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46621141)

The eye IS the focusing optics, you don't need a whole bunch of extra stuff, you just need to shift IR a few mm into visible and let the eye and brain do what they do.

All slashdot summaries are misleading at this stage, why do you think Taco left?

Re:Utterly misleading post. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 7 months ago | (#46622309)

The problem is that doesn't work.
This would work if you place the converter just in front of the retina. (but then it wouldn't work as the eye is not transparent to IR)
If you place it in front of the eye lens - contact lenses count - then you need the output visible light to be going in the same direction as the input IR light.
There are no common physical processes that can do this.
Hence, unfortunately, you need to actually have lenses and separate emitters.

In principle, this might change if you could have phase preserving detectors at 100nm resolution across the front of the 'contact lens' and phase preserving emitters at 100nm resolution across the back.

Naively, this will require significant computation and processing at 500000GHz *10000 megapixels.

So, not in the near term.
(I would be astounded if it happens in the next 50 years)

Re:Utterly misleading post. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 months ago | (#46623309)

If you place it in front of the eye lens - contact lenses count - then you need the output visible light to be going in the same direction as the input IR light.
There are no common physical processes that can do this.

Frequency-doubling crystals do this - combining two photons going in the same direction into one of twice the frequency. (That's how some green laser diodes work - bumping up infrared.) Not practical for a sensor, since you need a LOT of infrared that's IN PHASE to pull this off.

I, too, had seen the "contact lens" claim and read TFA to see if they had found some stimulated-emission phenomenon (say, one where they pumped the graphine to an excited state and got infrared photons to trigger the emission of a visible photon moving the same way). So I was very disappointed to find it was a FET with the gate stimulated by a graphene infrared-to-E-field transducer, suitable for a retina but not to convert flying photons.

Infrared is too long a wavelength for something like paving a contact lens with a fly's eye of micro-camera-display converters. So I don't see infra-vision contact lenses coming out of THIS breakthrough. Maybe a google-glass analog, or a two-way variant of the Israeli regular-glasses heads-up display with the imbedded refractive-index-change partial mirror that projects the little display near the hinge as if it were a screen in front of you at infinity or task-distance.

Re:Utterly misleading post. (1)

lgw (121541) | about 7 months ago | (#46623459)

There are no common physical processes that can do this.

There are uncommon processes however. You can "step up" the frequency of light passively, it's just a very rare effect (and of course brightness goes down significantly). "Phase" has nothing to do with it, as the concept is fairly meaningless across frequencies, excepting harmonics.

However, I doubt that's what this is.

Re:Utterly misleading post. (1)

laughingskeptic (1004414) | about 7 months ago | (#46623537)

Exactly. I have night vision goggles that are not cooled. Cooling is all about signal-to-noise, not the inherent sensitivity of the CCD detector. When the body and lenses of your imaging device are giving off infrared radiation at the same frequency that you are trying to image, you have to integrate the target image that much longer to get a clear picture. Swapping the back-plane technology cannot change this. This article is a prime example of academic puffery.

Obammycare (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620799)

Essentially all Obammycare does is give you the honor of paying sky high premiums and deductibles out the ass for the privilege of not breaking the law. That's it. You could pay for your own healthcare for LESS MONEY than under Obammycare's insurance, because at least then you'd only be paying the equivalent of the deductible per visit without the added burden of the damned premiums.

Re:Obammycare (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46620827)

What fascinates me is that Dem policies also invariably make the "rich" rich even richer, while making almost everyone else (in the poor to middle class) poorer. Yet, they keep winning elections. It almost makes you believe that the public school system is producing a bunch of indoctrinated idiots.

Good timing (-1, Offtopic)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46620847)

I've only seen this stuff posted 100,000 times over the last 2 weeks on Google news.

You guys ever consider just giving up and admitting you've destroyed slashdot? You seem to care more about debating star trek episodes and bragging about how awesome your shitty new UI is than actually approving news for nerds.

STOP TRYING TO FIX STUFF, YOU CAN'T DO IT, YOU ARE INCAPABLE, and entirely incompetent of doing this. Everytime you try, it sucks far more than your last cock up.

Hence why you have retarded 'mobile' interfaces that don't even show what you're replying to when you hit reply ... ironically, you show me a mobile UI on my iPad which has a larger display and real browser than my net top ... which has a tiny display and a craptastic Firefox version.

I'd settle for the sunglasses version (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 7 months ago | (#46621011)

It would be probably cheaper too

Re:I'd settle for the sunglasses version (1)

fullmetal55 (698310) | about 7 months ago | (#46621487)

I'm waiting for the full cybereye replacement... I want to be able to wirelessly control them through my PAN, and get flare-comp and smartlink installed too... but I think I have to wait about 50-60 years for that...

maybe get an occular drone too while I'm at it.

IR mods for early digital cameras ... (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 months ago | (#46621045)

... used to be easy to do. Then the companies got wind that people were using them to "see through clothing" and made it impractical for most hobbyists.

Google Glass is one thing but as soon as people clamor OMG to the press and politicians loud enough, commercial companies will be afraid to market this to consumers and legislators may step in to criminalize the un-disclosed use of "IR vision" for non-"legitimate" (e.g. security cameras) use or even criminalize all non-"legitimate" IR use in public places.

Come to think if it, I might be in favor of rules allowing for civil-court action for failing to disclosure of "see through clothing-capable" photography done in places accessible to the public.

Re:IR mods for early digital cameras ... (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46621915)

Take off the tinfoil hat. Sony once sold a camcorder with an IR mode that there was some brief controversy about, but that's about it. Lots of hobbyists modify cameras to see IR. Lots of cheaper cameras have crappy filters and pick up quite a bit without modification. Canon specifically sells (or sold, it's quite old now) a version of one of their SLRs without an IR filter. You can buy one for $25 to hook up to your Raspberry Pi. [adafruit.com]

Re:IR mods for early digital cameras ... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 7 months ago | (#46623849)

Canon doesn't sell them anymore, but Lensrentals.com rents both Canons [lensrentals.com] and Nikons [lensrentals.com] DSLR's that have been modified to work in IR. (IR is currently something of a fad in the photography community though there's pretty much always someone working with it.)

Near or far infrared? (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 7 months ago | (#46621113)

Are we talking night vision goggles, or thermal imagers?

Oh, BS. (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 7 months ago | (#46621197)

Yet another press release that glosses over the difference between "sensor" and "imaging system".

Give me the best, most sensitive, highest-resolution, lowest-power, and cheapest thermal IR sensor array you can imagine, and it's just a glorified ambient thermometer unless you can focus onto it. I'm sure there are cyberpunks/steampunks/whatever who would be happy to rock germanium-lensed spectacles, and I'm sure there are body-modders who would love to have pit organs in their foreheads, but you're NOT getting a self-contained thermal-imaging contact lens.

Oh, okay, I can imagine something that would work like an insect's compound eye, with an array of highly directional individual sensors -- but that's not what TFA is talking about, and it's not something we're likely to see in the next couple of decades.

Re:Oh, BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621653)

We'll 3D print IR contact lenses when the singularity comes!

Good deal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621325)

I won't need to put my camera on the ground to shoot up a girl's skirt anymore. Think of all the naked pictures we're gonna get. WooHoo! Big titties and bushy bush!

Re:Good deal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46621897)

Great big bush not even neatly trimmed: because you dont really like being able to see labia anyways.

Contact lens is hype (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 7 months ago | (#46621521)

I think they contact lens reference is just hype. The system needs to be powered, and what is essentially an electronic signal, caused by changing conductivity between two layers of graphene, converted to an image the eye can see. I cannot see that being done inside a contact lens: it will always require some kind of a viewer, such as binoculars or a sight. However, it could be much less bulky, and draw much less power, than current IR systems - which would probably make it much cheaper. So I could see it making night vision binoculars for a few hundred dollars weighing a tenth as much as current models, and possibly more capable. Likewise other classes of IR receptor. These are reasonable possibilities. But contact lenses are sheer headline grabbing.

Why? (2)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about 7 months ago | (#46621711)

There is just one link to put in TFA : http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2014.31.html [nature.com] . Note that this paper never mentioned the word "contact lenses".
So why? Why do we have instead a link to some stupid news site where they clearly don't have any clue on what they are talking about?

A little too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46622183)

My X-Ray contact lenses have left me blind. My microwave contact lenses left me browsing slashdot.

Wait, so I'm going to get graphene poisoning? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#46623529)

Cool.

Now I can stop licking my pencil nibs, trying to develop super powers.

Shine Job... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 7 months ago | (#46624485)

"Then you got to get sent to a slam, where they tell you you'll never see daylight again. You dig up a doctor, and you pay him 20 menthol Kools to do a surgical shine job on your eyeballs."

What a drama queen, all he had to do was take his contacts out...

 

The US Government will buy the patents (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 7 months ago | (#46625435)

A breakthrough that could dramatically improve infrared imaging (functionality, form factor, etc.) will be patent controlled by the US Government for military and then some aftermarket product no where near the mil-specs. The ability see in the dark is awesomely powerful to military operations.

I've researched infrared sensors (Arduino), but the easily available ones are 8x2 or 4x4 PIXELS resolutions, only good for a few feet (great for detecting heat loss in a home). I wanted to piece together a campsite intrusion alarm and looked into radar, infrared, and motion based sensors. Nothing in a reasonable price range is available beyond 20 yards or so (I wanted 50 yards, with the sensor array pole mounted in the center of my campsite). Now I'm looking into a campsite weather station...

And I can't blame the US for controlling such technology. I would if I were running things, same for military satellite imaging. These are strategic and operational assets of the highest order.

At the same time, I believe that military spending should be cut considerably, such a move would increase the importance of such technologies, they are effectively force multipliers.

Forget Infrared go Full-Spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46626687)

How freakin' amazing would it be being able to see in full-spectrum?

I realize there are not practical applications (that I know of) seeing in full-spectrum, but, judging from this photo from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] it would be just incredible!

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