Who Needs Fingers?

This blog’s for you.

Welcoming couldthishappen.com’s first guest blogger, Spanky!

You’re involved in a high-stakes poker game of epic proportions. Your entire life savings sits in front of you on the table (approximately $55). You’ve got what could be a sweet hand…except you can’t remember a flush from a straight. But checking your smartphone would be construed as a tell at best, or more likely, outright cheating.

So what are you to do?

Why, you simply look up the information on your contact lens, of course.

Or maybe you’re out for the first time with a hot date and the bartender ridicules your girly drink choice choice (What? Who doesn’t enjoy an Appletini?). But, not unlike George Costanza, you can’t seem to think of a witty comeback to put this jackanapes in his place.

Just scroll through a list of witty comebacks on your lens, just like the Governator in the first Terminator movie.
Frankly, one would think Skynet would have come up with better options, but robots aren’t usually known for their sense of humor.

Anyway, sooner or later, our smartphones will no longer require touchscreens. All that information (and internet porn) all displayed directly into your pupils, completely hands free, which allows hands to do other things…like slice vegetables while reading an online recipe.

Life would be irrevocably changed; what need would we have for books? Your Kindle would be on your eyeball. Exams? Bah, the cheatsheet’s right here smashed against my iris, no problem. Targetting reticules for archery aficionados, stock information for brokers, blueprints for construction teams. Laptops would be a thing of the past; with the screen on your peepers, all you’d need to haul around would be a small keyboard.

“OK, great,” you say. “But they don’t have those yet, right?”


University of Washington scientists and their colleagues in Finland have created a bionic contact lens that actually works on rabbits (at Bugs Bunny’s age, you’d think he’d go for LASIK, but he’s old-school). A circular antenna a fifth of an inch in diameter is implanted in the lens and picks up radio wave emissions that power the display. And what did they display in the twinkling eye of dear old Bugs?


So it’s a work in progress. But it’s a start. Soon they’ll have two pixels, and before you know it you’ll be able to play Pong on your very own eyeball!

I should probably take a moment to mention the current drawbacks:

In a petri dish, the range from the radio wave battery to the lens was three feet. So you could wear a D-battery or something on your belt and get away with it. Unfortunately, once placed in the eye, the gunk and gooies and eye-goobers mess with reception, so the range gets shortened a bit. As in, the range shrinks to less than an inch.

So start thinking of ways to roll with the battery-stapled-to-your-temple look.

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7 Responses to Who Needs Fingers?

  1. jrenstro says:

    Great post! Will the contacts be available in a variety of fashionable colors? And when does the info go from our eyeballs directly into our brains?

    • Spanky says:

      I’m thinking chartreuse would be striking…and yes, it’ll REALLY be awesome when we don’t even need the contacts…maybe you could do a post on that? ;)

  2. Elaine says:

    While, technology with its possibilities of instant information attainment are endless, I do have to raise the possibility of the [further] intrusion of technology on our children and their ability to think critically and creatively.

    In the article, “The internet: is it changing the way we think” by John Naughton, The Observer, August 2010, references Nicolas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, in his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” Carr, Naughton says, argues that modern neuroscience reveals that our brains can change in unfavorable ways. He suggests that the brain’s “plasticity” weakens by indicating that “the brains of illiterate people” differ from the literate.

    Naughton goes on to suggest that even his own ability for “deep reading” when he used to read lengthy material for hours “used to come naturally” to him. Now he can hardly sit and read for more then small snatches at a time without being lured away to another article or interest.

    While I do believe advancing technology is exciting, and as well, I am not arguing that accessing the internet as quickly and as closely as through a contact lens wouldn’t provide much in the way of an amazing flow of information, nor am I arguing that we shouldn’t advance such technology, I do feel that earlier technology such as television has contributed to the dumbing down of American children, hence, today’s young adults, and that access to the internet with all its celerity of data may hinder the critical and creative thinking of future generations. In my opinion, it is a worthy question.

    Elaine Sangiolo
    Book Marketing Manager: Cathedral of Dreams by Terry Persun and A Kingdom’s Possession by Nicole Persun – Booktrope Publishing and Amazon.com
    Booktrope Publishing

    • jrenstro says:

      I agree completely! Since this blog focuses mainly on the technological realities, it only scratches the surface in terms of implications, especially social and cultural. I save that stuff for longer essays because, ultimately, I think those questions are even more provocative than the scientific/technological ones!

      • Elaine says:

        I believe I commented on a blog that you wrote on technology and have to say that I loved your blog. So interesting.

        I also agree with you. But, I do look forward to what scientists and other creators come up with. When I was young, I never would have conceived of the internet. So, even though I have posted my caveat, I still am excited to see what’s next. I think our abilities when it comes to creativity is so exciting.

    • Spanky says:

      I agree; technology, like many things, should be utilized with moderation. Otherwise we’ll all have thirty-second attention spans.

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