Ubisoft might want to revise the get up of Splinter Cell lead Sam Fisher -- the game's stealthy hero, rocking green-glowing goggles, will look totally out of step once futuristic infrared contact lenses become the norm for military assault teams.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have produced a minuscule infrared detector so small as to be placed within a contact lens, or integrated into a smartphone. Designed in such a way as to remain cool when in operation, it's capable of detecting mid-to-far infrared wavelengths. This is a particular achievement, seeing as equipment for mid-to-far infrared sensors must maintain at a low temperature in order to be reliable, and have traditionally required significant cooling systems.
Super material graphene has been instrumental in the development, thanks to its sensitivity to a wide range of wavelengths, with an amplifier paired with two layers of the material, divided by an insulating layer. With results comparable to currently available commercial night vision gear, the discrete component is expected to become a military standard. [The Register, University of Michigan]