Innovation That Matters

Finnish University creates artificial iris

Health & Wellbeing

New technology could eventually be used as an optical implant.

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The Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland has developed an artificial iris that can react to incoming light in exactly the same way as the human eye. Manufactured from an intelligent, light-controlled polymer (a liquid crystal elastomer) material, the iris expands when exposed to light and shrinks when the environment becomes darker.

All modern camera lenses have light detection built-in, but unlike those, this iris requires no power source or external light detection system. Aside from its future potential with camera design, scientists are confident that eventually this technology will be able to be used as an optical implant.

“An autonomous iris that can independently adjust its shape and the size of its aperture in response to the amount of incoming light is a new innovation in the field of light-deformable materials,” says Professor Arri Priimägi, the lead of the research group. “The artificial iris looks a little bit like a contact lens, and its centre opens and closes according to the amount of light that hits it,” continues Priimägi.

Technology is continuously looking to how it can help those with disabilities. This wearable personal assistant has been designed to aid the visually impaired, and engineers in Newcastle have developed a smart prosthetic limb. Are there any specific areas that you feel would benefit from further research?



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