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How Computerized Contact Lenses Can Make You Think Differently About Architectural Design

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Dreamstime

As technologies continue to advance, building occupants are becoming capable of more and more. It began with the introduction of the computer, then went onto the smart phones, and now on the forefront are augmented reality technologies — one of which carries with it far-reaching implications.

I speak of computerized contact lenses.

If you think about it, it makes sense that the next evolution of computing would be to enter the realm of the bionic eye. For, when computer capabilites are added to the functionalities of a human using vision, one must think twice about how environments are to be designed.

Today’s environments are mostly a “what you see is what you get” type result. In the future however, with computerized contact lenses in the mix, environments will yield more than what you would see in them at first glance.

Suddenly, environments could themselves provide for information visualizations. They could redefine what it means to “connect” between real and virtual worlds. And environments would gain entirely new levels of funtionality — standing ready to act as a bridge between the virtual, informational, and the real.

Thus, with the simple addition of the computerized contact lens, environments will have new contexts with which to respond. And for designers of such environments, new chance will be given to redefine interactivity.

I invite you to question what might happen to the design of environments once innovations like the computerized contact lens arise. Think about any “new senses” that your given building occupant might gain. Would they be able to literally see through walls by gaining access to what is going on on the other side? Navigate in entirely new ways? Or even come to understand their environment through an entirely different process: perhaps web-based?

The key is to get you to think about environmental design at a few steps ahead of where things are today. Perhaps this will get the profession moving in the right direction — while also breathing new creative life into your ongoing projects.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

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AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is an award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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