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Purdue researcher develops contact lens that can monitor a patient’s health


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 5th, 2018

A researcher at Purdue University is developing a method to fit contact lenses with electronic devices and sensors for a range of applications.

Chi Hwan Lee is focusing his innovation on healthcare applications, such as glucose monitoring or eye disease detection. The high-tech contact lenses could also be used to provide soldiers with night vision, or to replace the bulky goggles used in augmented reality.

While similar technologies have emerged such as the Google Contact Lens, they had to be built on plastic-based, more rigid contact lenses that have flatter surfaces, since a hard lens can withstand the fabrication conditions for the devices. However, these lenses have limited biocompatibility, making them uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time.

Lee’s innovation allows sensors and other small devices to be implemented on commercially available soft contact lenses, which is a difficult task considering the lenses’ curved, liquid-heavy surfaces.

“We fabricate conventional, high-performance sensors on top of conventional substrate,” says Lee. “So we don’t develop the sensors. We just use conventional sensors — miniaturized or in-film sensors. Our technology allows us to transfer sensors from the hard substrate to the soft contact lens.”

The sensors can monitor a range of conditions, such as temperature, pressure or the presence of chemicals. For example, if the sensor detects an abnormal distribution of the surface temperature on the eye, physicians can read that as a potential sign of ocular disease, such as glaucoma.

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has helped Lee obtain a patent for the innovation and is seeking a licensee for commercial development.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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