OPTICIAN’S VIEW: On wearable technology

Chloe Kirton wearing Google Glass, and a Neurosky EEG biosensor, as a new MindRDR app enables people to control the wearable device using their mind.
Chloe Kirton wearing Google Glass, and a Neurosky EEG biosensor, as a new MindRDR app enables people to control the wearable device using their mind.
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Did you see The Apprentice the other week?

It was based on what the programme called wearable technology.

“Fantastic,” I thought.

I had been mentioning smart technology only a few weeks ago in this column, with the invention of contact lenses that can monitor your blood sugar.

I wondered what the exciting products the apprentices could come up with.

Of course, they are not scientists and they had one day to design a product for it to be made overnight ready for them to sell on to the trade.

Well the results, to say a little disappointing, is an understatement, I believe I could have done better with my mam’s sewing machine and some battery powered Christmas lights.

I suppose I was disappointed because technology seems to be moving so fast and furious at the minute and yet these products were really quite dated.

It seems to be that if you can imagine a product it will very soon be possible.

Only last week I read about the possibility of making contact lenses that could give you night vision. Yes, that’s right the ability to see in the dark.

Apparently, scientists in Michigan have developed an ultra-thin light detector that can sense wavelengths that our eyes cannot see and it has the potential to put heat vision technology into a contact lens.

Amazing, so contact lenses to help diagnose our blood sugar, contact lenses that can detect glaucoma, contact lenses to help us see in the dark. What next I wonder?

For me, it would have to be X-ray contact lenses. I always wanted X-ray spectacles as a child.

Surely, now, it can be only just around the corner.

If that’s the case, it looks like my future at work will be interesting. The contact lens side of it especially so, and to think that contact lenses were always something of a running joke decades ago.

I can still remember a youthful Polly James, hilariously scrabbling around on the floor in The Liver Birds looking for a lost contact lens.

It was a common joke in the sit coms of the time.

Of course this joke is long past it’s best as modern day contact lenses do not fall out like that any more. The other running joke from sit coms of yesteryear was that contact lens wearers walked around with their eyes wide open in some manic stare.

I’m pleased to report that this scenario also well and truly belongs in yesteryear.

And thank heavens for that.