We’ve done several shows about smart glasses, but I think this is the first one we’ve done about smart contact lenses.

Or. technically, we’re talking about a way to power smart contact lenses that just might make your eyes water.

Here’s the engineering challenge: smart eyewear needs power.

Powering smart glasses is relatively doable; you could put a small battery on the frames, for example, and when it’s time to recharge them, you take off the glasses and plug them in or set them on a charger.

But contact lenses are another story, since there’s no frame on which to stash the battery, and you don’t want electrodes and so forth in somebody’s eye.

A team out of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore asked the question we’re all asking: “could contact lens batteries be recharged with our tears?”

And they answered that question by creating a tiny battery that doesn’t use any wires or heavy metals.

It’s flexible, it’s as thin as a person’s cornea, and it can be powered by sodium and potassium ions, like the ones found in tears.

There’s still some work to be done to refine the system they’ve developed; then they’ll need to figure out how to turn the battery into a product that can go up for sale to consumers.

And above all, they’ll need to make sure people don’t mistake the fancy smart lenses for the dailies that they wear once and then throw out.

That could get awkward, though it would lead to a lot of tears to power the lenses.

Today in Northfield, Minnesota, the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days festival.

The highlight of the five day event is a reenactment of the time in 1876 that the town fended off the James Gang when it tried to rob the Northfield bank.

Nice teamwork, Northfield.

NTU Singapore scientists invent micrometres-thin battery charged by saline solution that could power smart contact lenses (Nanyang Technological University Singapore)

Defeat of Jesse James Days

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