Night vision contact lenses could soon turn us all into superheroes

It may sound like a power reserved for Superman or one of the X-Men, but according to new research from engineers at the University of Michigan, night vision contact lenses may soon no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies.

According to Wired, researchers Ted Norris and Zhaohui Zhong have been working on an ultra-thin infrared light sensor that’s made from graphene – a material that’s only an atom thick. The graphene could potentially be layered onto contact lenses in order to absorb infrared rays and translate them into an electrical signal.

When the team placed a layer of insulation between two layers of graphene and added an electrical current, they found the electrical reaction was able to be converted into a visible image.

“If we integrate it with a contact lens or other wearable electronics, it expands your vision,” said Zhong. He continued, “It provides you another way of interacting with your environment.”

Although the research is still in its early days and needs more funding from commercial and governmental partners, the team believes the technology could be used by smartphone companies to take better night photos, car manufacturers to aid night driving and even by the army for raids or special operations at all times of the day. 

Becca Caddy