Contact Lenses with Zooming Capabilities Unveiled

April 22, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. institution /ˌɪn stɪˈtu ʃən/ (n.) – an established organization
Example: There are institutions around the world that promote animal welfare.

2. telescopic /ˌtɛl əˈskɒp ɪk/ (adj.) – referring to the capability of magnifying objects
Example: We need telescopic vision if we want to see the animals from a distance.

3. bionic /baɪˈɒn ɪk/ (adj.) – referring to devices designed as a human body part to assist humans in doing tasks
Example: The scientist needs to use a bionic arm for the experiment.

4. reflective /rɪˈflɛk tɪv/ (adj.) – referring to something that can imitate anything
Example: He looked at the mirror’s reflective surface.

5. magnify /ˈmæg nəˌfaɪ/ (v.) – to make something look bigger
Example: The telescope can magnify things.


Read the text below.
Researchers from a European institution unveiled their latest prototype of telescopic contact lenses that can zoom in and out when the wearer winks.

The contact lenses were showcased in the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held in California.  The lenses are being developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is one of the world’s top institutes for technological development.  Currently, the project is still in the research stage.

The project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency back in 2013. The contact lenses were originally intended for the soldiers. It was meant to give soldiers bionic vision.

The contact lenses are 1.55mm thick and hold a very thin reflective telescope inside. Small mirrors within the lenses bounce the light around to give a magnified view when activated.  When used with specially designed glasses, the lenses allow the wearer to switch between normal and magnified vision.

The glasses were designed to recognize the wearer’s winks. To zoom in, the wearer needs to wink using their right eye. On the other hand, winking using the left eye will return one’s vision to normal. This system is designed to ensure that regular blinking does not accidentally activate the magnification.

The researchers hope that the contact lenses would be useful for people who are visually impaired. Currently, 5% of the world population is affected by Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), an eye condition that causes vision loss for senior citizens. This condition is when the part of the eye responsible for allowing people to see things clearly becomes damaged.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would this kind of technology be popular in Japan? Why or why not?
·         How else do you think this technology can be used? Kindly discuss your answer.

Discussion B

·         If you would design a bionic device, what would it be? How will it help humans?
·         Do you think technological advances are always good? Please explain.

April 22, 2015