Breakthrough in Wearable Technology: Tear-Chargeable Batteries for Smart Contact Lenses

Breakthrough in Wearable Technology: Tear-Chargeable Batteries for Smart Contact Lenses

Nicolette Valdez
2 min read

Breakthrough in Wearable Technology: Tear-Chargeable Batteries for Smart Contact Lenses

In a scene reminiscent of a "Mission Impossible" movie, scientist Lee Seok Woo has made a significant stride by developing innovative batteries tailored for smart contact lenses. These batteries, with a mere 0.2 mm thickness, prioritize both safety and compactness, and are particularly vital for wearable technology such as smart contact lenses. Lee's inventive approach involves utilizing a biocompatible saline solution to charge the battery, whereby it reacts with a glucose coating to generate power. Remarkably, tears also possess the ability to charge the battery due to their glucose content. Although the current battery output hovers between 0.3V to 0.6V, Lee and his team at Nanyang Technological University are diligently working toward enhancing its capabilities. The potential applications of this breakthrough encompass healthcare, especially for diabetic individuals who require regular glucose level monitoring. Lee emphasizes the necessity of maintaining low battery costs to facilitate widespread adoption, aiming to make them affordable, possibly costing merely a few dollars once commercialized.

Key Takeaways

  • Inspired by "Mission Impossible," Lee Seok Woo developed batteries for smart contact lenses.
  • The battery's thickness is 0.2 mm, crucial for comfort in 0.5 mm thick lenses.
  • Biocompatible saline solution and tears can charge the battery through glucose reactions.
  • Current battery output is 0.3V-0.6V, insufficient for data storage or internet connection.
  • Lee aims to integrate glucose detection for diabetics and keep battery costs low.


The creation of biocompatible, tear-chargeable batteries for smart contact lenses by Lee Seok Woo has the potential to transform wearable technology and healthcare. Its immediate impact includes heightened convenience for diabetic monitoring, despite the current output limiting its functionality. In the long run, enhanced battery capabilities could facilitate the integration of data storage and connectivity, thereby impacting major tech companies and healthcare providers. The emphasis on cost reduction aims to democratize access, potentially causing disruptions in existing markets and fostering new consumer behaviors. This innovation underscores the convergence of entertainment inspiration and pragmatic scientific advancement, underscoring the evolving landscape of personal health technology.

Did You Know?

  • Biocompatible Saline Solution: This is a saline solution compatible with living tissue, designed to be non-toxic and non-inflammatory when in contact with biological tissues. It is safe for use in medical applications, such as powering batteries in wearable devices like smart contact lenses.
  • Glucose Coating: Refers to a layer or substance coated with or containing glucose, a vital energy source for the body. In the context of Lee Seok Woo's battery, the glucose coating reacts with the biocompatible saline solution to generate power, leveraging the natural glucose content in tears for charging.
  • 0.3V - 0.6V Battery Output: This denotes the voltage output of the battery developed by Lee Seok Woo. Voltage measures the electric potential difference between two points in a circuit, indicating the power output of the battery. The current range of 0.3V to 0.6V is relatively low and not adequate for powering complex functionalities like data storage or internet connectivity in smart devices.

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