Having augmented reality vision a la the Terminator or some kind of cool secret agent has been a goal for tech companies for a while now, ever since Google's dweeby Glass experiment.
How neat would it be to be able to look at something and have a built-in heads up display relay vital information, or surreptitiously record what you're seeing? Those and other cybernetic fantasies may not be all that far off, as Samsung just received patents in South Korea for exactly that kind of "smart" contact lense technology.
The lenses have tiny built-in sensors and cameras, which the wearer controls with blinking and eye movements. The lenses interact with a smartphone via embeded antennae, and together they work to record images and produce an augmented reality experience that's both more immersive yet less obvious than Google's Glass headwear.
Movies like to imagine this kind of technology as useful in, say, a nightclub where laying eyes on a woman pulls up a slew of vital information on the heads up display. And if these lenses work, that may not be outside the realm of possibility — consider that Facebook recently purchased companies involved in facial recognition technology, and it's not hard to imagine getting someone in your crosshairs and having her Facebook info pop up (literally) right in front of your eyes.
As Mashable points out, there's no guarantee that a consumer version of the product will ever be available, and Samsung isn't even the first company to receive such a patent. Google has two (U.S.) patents for smart contacts that can analyze your body's blood sugar levels, certainly a more noble use of the technology.
Nothing's certain, but in a few years would could all walk the Earth knowing far more about those around us than we'd ever want to.