US start-up demonstrates working AR contact lenses

Tuesday, 04 February, 2020

US start-up demonstrates working AR contact lenses

US start-up Mojo Vision has announced that it has produced an augmented reality microdisplay in a contact lens, along with wireless radio, image and motion sensors. The 14K pixels-per-inch microdisplay is only 0.48 mm in size. Until now, such technology was the stuff of science fiction.

The first generation of Mojo Lenses is being powered wirelessly, though future generations will have batteries on board. A small external pack, besides providing power, handles sensor data and sends information to the display. The company is calling the technology Invisible Computing, and company representatives say it will get people’s eyes off their phones and back onto the world around them.

The first application will likely be for people with low vision — providing real-time edge detection and dropping crisp lines around objects. The company eventually plans to add the ability to zoom to its vision enhancement features, and announced a partnership with the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired to develop additional applications.

Potential future applications, beyond those intended for people with low vision, include translating languages in real time, tagging faces and providing emotional cues.

Mojo Vision has yet to implement its planned eye-tracking technology with the lenses, but says that’s coming soon and will allow the wearer to control apps without relying on external devices.

“People can’t tell you are wearing it, so we want the interaction to be subtle, done using just your eyes,” said Steve Sinclair, senior vice president of product and marketing.

The path ahead is not a short one; contact lenses are considered medical devices and therefore need U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. But the Mojo Lens has been designated as an FDA Breakthrough Device, which will speed things up a little. And clinical studies have begun.

Mojo to date has 84 employees and has pulled in US$105 million in investment from traditional Silicon Valley venture firms as well as big companies like LG and Google. Its technology is well protected, with more than 100 patents.

Image: Mojo Vision

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