Virtual Reality Lenses Will Change How Troops Fight On The Battlefield

iOptik contact lens

Photo: DARPA

defence researchers have designed a contact lens that superimposes 3-D virtual reality directly onto your eye. The iOptiks can enhance vision too, if you’re not blessed with 20/20 sight. DARPA (defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) is the cool research arm of the DoD. It’s known as being the department of mad scientists that develop technology worthy of futuresque sci-fi movies.

Partnered with virtual eyewear company Innovega, the contact lenses have fascinating potential for battlefield operations. 

Troops won’t have to rely on bulky helmet mounts, but instead can have high-resolution images and a very wide field of view projected onto a wearable lens.

“The resulting effect allows for very real immersive 3-D large screen images,” said Innovega in a press release. It’s the equivalent of seeing a 240-inch television normally viewed at a distance of 10 feet. 

They’re also working on developing transparent video eyewear that troops can wear in the battlefield to visually access data, graphics and videos generated from remote cameras, drones or satellites. 

For the average consumer, the iOptik contact lens will be licensed to eyewear manufacturers. A cool application would be navigation, as computer map directions can be superimposed on what you see ahead of you. The lenses can also be used for 3-D gaming, which will be useful for military simulation training. 

DARPA is developing iOptik as part of its Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) program. defence researchers aim to enhance situational awareness and survivability by inventing technology that provides soldiers with intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance prowess. The idea is to eliminate strategic surprises. 

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