Scientists create flexible batteries to charge smart contact lenses

Photo credit: Nanyang Technological University

While smart contact lenses are making waves with their potential to transform the way we interact with technology, they are held back by one crucial element: an appropriate power source.

NTU Singapore scientists led by Associate Professor Lee Seok Woon have presented a breakthrough solution – a flexible, biocompatible battery as thin as the human cornea.

The problem: Why existing batteries no longer work

Prior to this breakthrough, smart contact lens power sources gave up serious limitations and safety concerns.

Traditional rechargeable batteries rely on metal wires or induction coils, which are not only inconvenient but also dangerous when placed near or in the human eye.

The solution: A battery powered by saline and tears

NTU’s new battery technology is groundbreaking for several reasons. It is made of biocompatible materials and avoids the use of toxic heavy metals found in conventional batteries such as lithium-ion batteries.

Remarkably, it doesn’t even require external cables for this. Instead, it generates electricity through a glucose-based coating that reacts with the sodium and chloride ions in the brine, effectively using water as the “wiring.”

tears of power

In addition, the battery could potentially be powered by human tears, which contain lower concentrations of sodium and potassium ions.

In a simulated tear solution test, the researchers found that for every 12-hour wear cycle, battery life increased by an additional hour.

Applications: Beyond just vision correction

Smart contact lenses have a wide range of applications that go far beyond simply correcting vision. You can monitor wearers’ health metrics and even treat chronic conditions like diabetes and glaucoma.

With sufficient power, future versions could even record and broadcast everything a wearer sees and hears, opening the door to cloud-based storage and augmented reality experiences right in our line of sight.

future outlook

Although this battery technology represents a significant advance, more testing is needed to confirm its long-term safety and effectiveness.

However, the possibilities are tempting. Imagine a future where your contact lenses could serve as a heads-up display, health monitor and more – all powered by your tears.


The development of a biocompatible, flexible battery for smart contact lenses could be game-changing and bring us closer to realizing the full potential of this technology.

This innovation paves the way for a future where our interaction with technology becomes even more seamless and integrated into our daily lives.

The study was published in Nano Energy.

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Source: Nanyang Technological University

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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