Scientists are using an atom-thin material called graphene to create night-vision contact lenses that could be used by future troops.
Scientists at the University of Michigan are heading up the project and are currently developing super-thin infrared light sensors that could be layered over contact lenses to provide thermal imaging. The main component, graphene, is similar to one-atom thick graphite, and can be used to convert infrared light into visible images, Wired reports.
“If we integrate [graphene] with a contact lens or other wearable electronics, it expands your vision,” said Dr. Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university. “It provides you another way of interacting with your environment.”
While graphene normally only absorbs 2.3 percent of light, sandwiching an insulator between two layers of the high-tech material provides enough of a boost to create a usable signal, according to the HuffPost.
Zhong says their project needs additional funding in order to move forward. But even if they get a government grant, night-vision contact lenses are still
light years away.