Action Man bionic eyes coming to an opticians near you soon

At this year’s AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual meeting Eric Tremblay from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) demonstrated the latest prototype a contact lens with built in optical zoom. Now for someone who’s most used phone app is a magnifying glass so that I can zoom in to read the nutrition information labels this is very exciting news indeed.

Even though I’m confident that the pace of medical technology is going to make life extension possible for my fragile body, there will be an intermediate period when my body is failing and I’m trying to hold out long enough for this exponentially improving technology to kick-in. And that middle decade or so is definitely one I’d like to spend, if not with perfect eyesight, with vision that doesn’t stop be from going about my day to day activities.

Age related macular degeneration alone affects around half a million people in the UK alone so if they can produce a commercial version then there is hope for a lot of people. The first prototype was released in 2013 and since then the team have worked on making them oxygen permeable (so that the eye can still breathe and therefore the contact lens can be worn for longer) and improving the image quality – so I’ll certainly be looking forward to their next release.

EPFL Telescopic Contact Lens

Six of the best from Ray’s newsletter

Ray Kurzweil’s Accelerating Intelligence newsletter was packed full of developments that could really impact the ability of people to live forever – I admit that sometimes there are a few general science padding items in the newsletter but not this week, so here are 6 of the best – I wish I had time to properly consider and blog about each one.

Nanorods found better than spherical nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery

Lifespan-extending drug given late in life reverses age-related heart disease in mice

Nanofiber sensor instantly detects diabetes or lung cancer in breath

Turning human spare parts into exports

A simple, non-invasive gene therapy restores sight

How to quickly generate a large quantity of personalized nerve cells