(ORDO NEWS) — Mojo Vision has been developing smart contact lenses since 2015. As with smart glasses, the idea is to put useful AR graphics in front of your eyes to help you complete everyday tasks. Now a functioning prototype brings us closer to the final product.
In a blog post this week, Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins said he was the first to “demonstrate multifunctional augmented reality smart contact lenses in front of our eyes.” In an interview with CNET, he said he wears one contact lens.
Ultimately, Mojo Vision would like users to be able to wear two Mojo lenses at the same time and create 3D visual overlays, the publication says.
According to the blog post, the CEO could see the compass through the contact and the teleprompter on the screen with the quote written on it. He also recalled viewing a green monochrome image of Albert Einstein for CNET.
The lens is powered by an Arm M0 processor and a 14,000 ppi micro-LED display. Its diameter is only 0.5 mm with a pixel pitch of 1.8 microns. Perkins stated that it is “the smallest, densest display ever made for dynamic content”.
Perkins wrote that the development of contact lenses in general involved the miniaturization of physics and electronics. Mojo Lens has developed its power management system using “medical grade microbatteries” and a proprietary power management IC.
The Mojo lens also uses a specially tuned magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope for tracking. The goal is to keep the device visible even when you move your eyes, Perkins wrote. Eye movement is necessary as there will be no gesture control like some smart glasses like Ray-Ban Stories.
There is voice control, a Mojo Vision spokesperson told Ars Technica, but the main control method in the user interface is eye tracking.
One of the biggest hurdles smart glasses face is how bulky and weird they can look. But the current prototype uses a “relay accessory,” as a Mojo Vision spokesperson puts it, that is worn around the neck. It includes a CPU, GPU, and a 5GHz radio to send and receive data to and from the lens.
According to CNET, the accessory also sends information “back to computers that track eye movement data for research.” Perkins’ blog states that this technology requires a custom ASIC design.
In its current state, this sounds like a big disadvantage for consumers. Having to wear something around your neck can be burdensome, even if it’s small.
And it is not clear how much the device heats up.
The current prototype also uses a headgear with a built-in antenna for easier connectivity, according to CNET. Although we expect this to be omitted from the final product.
An exact release date for the Mojo Lens, which could be the first AR contact lens available to consumers, is unknown. Immediate goals include attracting potential partners, investors and journalists to use smart lenses.
Perkins’ blog says that people will start walking around with smart contact lenses within the next 10 years. He described a world where athletes wear smart contact lenses for targeted and intense training.
He also described the use of smart contacts to display useful information, such as when a taxi will arrive to pick you up from the airport, or physical and mental health information.
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