Sony Files Patent for Revolutionary Contact Lens

July 6, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

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

1. multinational /ˌmʌl tiˈnæʃ ə nl / (adj.) – relating to many nations
Example: There are multinational organizations dedicated to fighting poverty.

2. sensor / ˈsɛn sɔr / (n.) – a device that can sense something (e.g. light, movement) and has a corresponding reaction to it
Example: The police were alerted when the motion sensor detected movement near the vault.

3. delete / dɪˈlit / (v.) – to erase something stored in computer memory
Example: She accidentally deleted her files from the computer.

4. program / ˈproʊ græm / (v.) – to insert instructions into a device
Example: Can you program your computer to shut down after ten minutes?

5. scramble / ˈskræm bəl / (n.) – a struggle or competition
Example: There is a scramble for funding among scientists.


Read the text below.
Japanese multinational corporation Sony files a patent for a new type of contact lens.

With its ability to record videos and immediately save them on the user's eyeballs, Sony's new lens is in effect a video camera. The device, which only needs to be put on one eye, consists of an image capture unit, a main control unit, storage module, antenna, and a sensor.

The sensor helps differentiate involuntary blinking from intentional eye blinking, which turns the camera on and off. The same sensor also notices blinking during a recording and deletes black shots that result from it.  Additional features of the lens include autofocus, instant exposure adjustment, and zoom control. Power is supplied by a nearby device, such as a computer or smartphone, through electromagnetic field resonance, electromagnetic induction, or radio waves.

Aside from recording videos, the lens can also be programmed to play videos with eyelid movement that is distinct from the blink needed to start and stop other functions. It can also be controlled via a smartphone.

Sony's new development happened in the midst of a scramble among technology giants to develop and patent "smart" contact lenses with different functions. Google's version of the smart lenses is intended to aid diabetic people by checking the blood sugar levels in their tears.  Another similar technology is Samsung's lens. Although it is similar to Sony’s lens, Samsung’s lens houses a tiny camera that relies on a smartphone to save videos. All three lenses are still in the prototype phase, however, and are still far from being accessible to the public.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Given the chance, how would you use Sony’s contact lens?
·         Do you think the invention should be available to everyone? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are some possible positive and negative consequences of smart contact lenses?
·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, what features would you like to be added to contact lenses?

July 6, 2016