contact lens

Photo via n4i/Flickr (CC-BY)

Smart contact lenses are the new dorky glasses.

Virtual-reality headsets are the hottest tech around, but a recent Samsung patent suggests that these devices are just the first step.

The Korean manufacturer has filed for a patent on a smart contact lens for viewing augmented-reality content, no headset needed.

Samsung filed the patent, first spotted by SamMobile, with South Korea's Intellectual Property Office in 2014. The smart lenses appear to be an upgrade of existing technology for augmented viewing, which at the time was primarily associated with Google Glass.

According to the patent, the high-tech contact lenses would consist of a small display that would project images into the wearer's eye, a camera, an antenna, and motion sensors. The wearable would require a paired smartphone to do the processing.

As for controls, the patent suggested that wearers could input commands by blinking, though it didn't explain how the smart contact would tell the difference between normal blinks and command blinks.

Samsung isn't the only company working on a smart contact lens; Google announced its own attempt in 2014, though it hasn't provided any updates since then. The Google project, however, is aimed less at augmented reality and more at tracking biological data.

Google received a patent for its smart lenses. Samsung is still waiting for approval of its filing. And if you thought an always-on camera attached to glasses caused a panic, wait until there's a nearly undetectable one directly on people's eyes.

H/T Business Insider

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