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"I think we could solve our problems more easily through strength of character; but that's always been a commodity in extremely short supply."
- Gregory Benford

Smart Contact Lenses  
  Contact lenses that have a built-in computer display.  

In the tomorrow explored in this novella, wearable computers display data right before your eyes.

"What really makes it possible?"

Juan squinted at him. "My contact lenses? Smart clothes?" Certainly the lens displays would be useless without a wearable computer to do the graphics.

"That's just the final output device."

From Fast Times At Fairmont High, by Vernor Vinge.
Published by Not known in 2001
Additional resources -

Vinge expands on the idea in his 2006 novel Rainbows End, set in the same milieu:

"...Robert, you should be wearing. You look silly walking around with that view-page clutched in your hand..."

Miri... leaned her head forward, and stuck a finger close to her right eye. "You already know about contacts, right? Wanna see one?" Her hand came away from her eye. A tiny disk sat on the tip of her middle finger. It was the size and shape of the contact lenses he had known. He hadn't expected more, but... he bent closed and looked. After a moment, he realized that it was not quite a clear lens. Speckles of colored brightness swirled and gathered in it. "I'm driving it at safety max, or you wouldn't see the lights." The tiny lens became hazy, then frosty white. "Uk. It powered down. But you get the idea.."

If you think that this form of display is a bit intrusive, you're right. As one character remarks in Rainbows End:

"Without some control it's like old-time television, but much more intrusive. We wouldn't want you to be hijacked..."

You'd need to go back a ways to find the earliest use of this kind of idea. Try the retinal vid-screen from Philip K. Dick's 1954 story Sales Pitch.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Fast Times At Fairmont High
  More Ideas and Technology by Vernor Vinge
  Tech news articles related to Fast Times At Fairmont High
  Tech news articles related to works by Vernor Vinge

Smart Contact Lenses-related news articles:
  - Vernor Vinge Smart Contact Lens On Wired
  - Augmented Reality Humanoid Robot U-Tsu-Shi-O-Mi
  - Circuit Smart Contact Lens, Presaged By Niven, Barnes and Vinge
  - Samsung Patent For Smart Contact Lens Camera Granted

Articles related to Display
Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
Cicret Makes Your Skin Into A Display
Organic Photonic Skin Display
Samsung Patent For Smart Contact Lens Camera Granted

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