Engineers create "fish eye" that can see in the dark - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Engineers create "fish eye" that can see in the dark

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Scientists at UW used an animal to innovate new technology that could help humans see better.

Think about the far-sighted person you know, they're probably always holding things further back just to be able to see them correctly. That's because their eyes can't focus like they should. Scientists want to fix that with a contact lens. But for it to work, the lens would need to see in the dark.

Engineering professor Hongrui Jiang has spent about three years trying to figure out how to make eyes more sensitive to light. He found his answer in the Elephantnose fish of Africa. He replicated the fish's eye, because it can see well in the dark.

“It's extremely exciting, but at the same time it's also a very humbling experience,” said Jiang. “That means that we know that there's still a long way to go.”

Now he and his team have to figure out all the other parts that would make the lens function – then fit them into a thin lens.

“I's very challenging,” Jiang said. “As you can imagine, we have to put a lot of stuff... jam a lot of stuff into that contact lens, which is a soft, flexible structure.”

Jiang says the engineering side of the project should take about five more years, but then they need to go through trials and FDA approval.

When they finish, anyone with farsightedness could wear that lens and no longer need bifocals, trifocals, or to pull things further away from them just to be able to see.

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