Smart Eye Prosthetic

Creator: Harrison     
Supervisor: Peter Yeadon

Evidence of the existence of prosthetic eyes dates back to 2900 BCE, however the materials used to construct them have changed immensely. Nowadays, glass eyes are crafted to look incredibly similar to their real counterparts, but current acrylic eye technology has a few deficiencies.
On a physical level, these eyes are often uncomfortable, as the fit is not custom and the pressure against the eye socket can be uncomfortable, even if it is custom made. In addition, acrylic eyes are prone to becoming scratched, which can cause irritation. Aesthetically, the nonporous plastic prevents full integration of the prosthetic and curtails movement.
Furthermore, the eye pupils cannot contract/dialate in response to changes in ambient light conditions, causing the prosthetic eyes to appear artificial. 
This project introduces the use of soft silicone eyes as a potential solution to these problems. The silicone material removes the discomfort of rigid prosthetics, while also allowing for a mechanism to be embedded into the eyes which simulates a light reactive pupil. 
The response of this artificial pupil to light is achieved by using a biocompatible shape memory polymer aperture connected to an elastic silicone iris. When the user looks at a light source, the prosthetic eye lens focuses the light into the eye. The focused light causes the internal temperature of the eye to increase, to slightly above body temperature. This change in temperature stimulates the shape memory polymer and contracts the pupil. 
If and when the light no longer strikes the eye, the temperature of the pupil drops to body temperature again, causing the pupil to dialate. 
See a demonstration of the concept, in the video below ...

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