After virtual reality headsets and glasses, get ready for augmented reality contact lenses.
That’s what the American startup Mojo Vision recently demonstrated, with a lens integrating a multitude of technologies, including a miniature screen. These lenses allow the wearer to enjoy content, images and text, superimposed on the surrounding real-world environment.
The very first prototype from Mojo Lens is finally operational. The startup’s CEO, Drew Perkins, was able to experience the innovation first-hand. “Turns out, the future is a lot closer than most people think. The future is already here. I’ve seen it. I’ve worn it,” he wrote on the company blog. In this case, he served as a guinea pig for the very first demonstration of this new smart contact lens technology, providing access to practical, contextualized information.
More than six years of work and development went into building this working prototype. Major challenges included the miniaturisation of all the embedded electronics, and creating new components as well as an adapted user interface. Today, this is no longer science fiction.
At the heart of the lens is a MicroLED screen measuring less than 0.5 mm in diameter. The lens also embeds a processor, responsible for image processing, plus an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a magnetometer. Finally, the lens includes micro-batteries to supply it with power. The whole interface is controlled by eye movements alone, and without using hand gestures, for example.
The goal now is to refine Mojo Lens through several phases of testing and clinical studies to test capabilities and provide feedback on software and applications. Real-world uses for the lenses, once fully developed, will also need to be identified.
For example, this type of contact lens could radically change the lives of people with visual impairments. But it could also allow an athlete or a cyclist to stay focused on their activity while having access to various performance parameters displayed in their field of vision.