Smart contact lenses could soon become mainstream thanks to a new manufacturing process that has allowed researchers to develop a multifunctional ultra-thin sensor layer. The new contact lens sensor system contains a photodetector for receiving optical information, a temperature sensor for diagnosing potential corneal disease, and a glucose sensor for directly monitoring the glucose levels in tear fluid.
The ultra-thin sensor layer is different from the conventional smart contact lenses, which have rigid or bulk sensors and circuit chips that are sandwiched between two contact lens layers and make contact with tear fluids via microfluidic sensing channels. According to the researchers, this new layer could instead be mounted onto a contact lens and maintain direct contact with tears, thanks to its easy assembly, high-detection sensitivity, good biocompatibility, and mechanical robustness. The new layer also doesn’t interfere with either blinking or vision.
This multifunctional contact lens with field-effect transistors can provide diversified signals from eyes, which could be combined with advanced data analysis algorithms to provide personalized and accurate medical analysis for users.