There has been a boost in innovative contact lenses lately—researchers have developed lenses that monitor blood glucose levels and Google boasts having made a pair that has a built in camera. Now, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has revealed a pair that will let you zoom in (up to 3x) just by blinking. Think of them as your own personal pair of binoculars—without all of the bulk.
To make these lenses work, scientists have combined “smart lenses” that can sense the differences between an intentional wink and an unconscious blink with a telescopic lens so that if you find yourself squinting to see something, clear vision is just a wink away. The way that the contacts are able to magnify up to 3 times in a lens that is only 1.55mm thick is by using aluminum mirrors that reflect light against one another; when the lenses sense a wink, a polarized filter guides light into the mirrors, making the image appear larger to the viewer. The viewer can easily regain normal vision by winking the left eye.