If you’re walking around thinking that eye lasers are the sort of sci-fi thing that will only happen in comics, I hate to break it you but you are very wrong.
Scientists at the University of St. Andrews are hard at working making ocular lasers a thing, and their latest discoveries may just be the breakthrough needed to achieve this laser-eyed future.
The team used organic semiconductors in its research. I’m sure most of you are thinking to yourselves “organic semiconductors? Say no more. I had some for breakfast” — but in case you have no idea what those are, let me explain what my rudimentary online search has turned up.
Organic semiconductors are molecular crystals or thin films comprised of molecules or polymers (large molecules) of carbon, hydrogen and sometimes nitrogen, sulfur and oxygen.
They’re already used in optoelectronics — a branch of technology concerned with the combined use of electronics and light — to make lightweight devices.
However, most organic semiconductor lasers were rigid until now. No longer. The researchers managed to craft membrane-based, extremely thin lasers.
These bad boys* are so thin that the researchers were able to transfer them onto other curved, flexible or shifting surfaces like a banknote or more intriguingly, a contact lens.
The University of St. Andrews team demonstrated the contact lens integration as a wearable security tag on a cow’s eye.
Naturally, there is no specific time when this tech will come to market, or even any indication as to how it would come to market.
One thing is clear, though. We’ll definitely all be cyborgs soon.
Verdict: Not sticky.
In the research team’s tests, they envisioned the membrane laser as a complement to biometric iris recognition.
Putting aside personal eye safety — the scientists believe the process should be safe based on their tests with bovine eyes — it’s not exactly a reassuring use case.
One can only envision a situation in which a workplace enforces the wearing of laser contacts, or, even worse, public or private spaces like malls or government buildings requiring you to scan in with your laser eyes.
We’re already tracked closely enough through social media and the use of our various electronic devices, there’s no need for a tighter grip. But that seems to be where we’re heading.
I’m sure when these sorts of contacts are eventually introduced to consumers, there will be some more consumer-friendly benefits attached but, for now, it’s a no from me.
Header image from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not in which News Editor Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad).
*Note: the scientists never called them bad boys. That’s all me.