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Vision of the Future: AR Smart Contact Lenses

Vision of the Future: AR Smart Contact Lenses
US-based Mojo Vision has teamed up with Japanese manufacturer Menicon Co to develop smart contact lenses with built-in AR displays. (Credit: Mojo Vision)

Smart contact lenses with built-in augmented reality (AR) displays to provide information without the need for other screens could soon become a feature of daily life. US-based Mojo Vision, whose aim is to offer “invisible computing,” has teamed up with Japanese contact lens manufacturer Menicon Co to develop the product.

Steve Sinclair, SVP of Product and Marketing at Mojo Vision, said:

“Invisible computing is all about giving you the right information at the right time and doing it in a way that is unobtrusive and allows you to maintain your focus on the people and the world right in front of you. To lead us into this invisible computing future, we’re building Mojo Lens, the world’s first true smart contact lens with a built-in display that can provide eyes-up, hands-free content right when you need it without having to look down at other screens or devices. And when you don’t need it, Mojo Lens just disappears so you always look like yourself.”

The idea for the lens came about when Mojo Vision CEO, Drew Perkins, developed cataracts and began to wonder if there was a way to not only restore people’s vision but also to give them supervision. Mr. Sinclair explained:

“At the heart of Mojo Lens is the smallest and densest dynamic display ever built. Our 14KPPI display is a microLED array about the size of a grain of sand that projects text, photos and video content onto your retina.”

“All of the components are sealed within a scleral contact lens that has your prescription built-in so you can see the physical world better too.”

(Credit: Mojo Vision)

The lens has precision motion sensors built in that detect eye movement to stabilize the AR content as the eyes move and to enable the unique eye-controlled user interface. There is also an image sensor that is used to understand the physical environment while detecting ambient light levels to automatically adjust the display’s brightness. 

He added:

“All of these components are sealed within a scleral contact lens that has your prescription built-in so you can see the physical world better too.”

Assisting the Visually Impaired

The company, which is unable to give a launch date or potential price for the price lens yet, is focusing on getting it out to those with low vision conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Mr. Sinclair observed:

“We are designing our lens to project magnified images captured by an external camera, provide real-time enhanced contrast overlays on the world around, and highlight edges to make walking and obstacle avoidance easier for the visually impaired. The ability for the display to overlay simplified outlines and high-contrast or zoomed-in images of one’s surroundings could be a simple tool to help them regain some of their mobility and independence.”

The battery life will depend on the user experience, but the goal is to let people wear the lens throughout the day. (Credit: Mojo Vision)

The product could also work for sports and fitness enthusiasts. He said: 

“Mojo Lens can provide athletes with a hands-free solution that provides them with eyes-up information in the moment. Having information accessible during a run, a ride or a workout gives athletes the opportunity to monitor their biometrics, get coaching on demand, and gives them an invisible edge that improves their athletic performance.”

An Everyday Solution

The Mojo Lens will be powered by small, thin-film biosafe batteries built into the lens. The battery life will depend on the user experience, but the goal is to let people wear and use the lens throughout the day, just like normal contact lenses. Mr. Sinclair said:

“When you take your pair of lenses out at night, you’ll recharge and clean them in their case overnight, so they are ready to wear the next day. We believe that someday all eyewear will become smart and that the people that choose contact lenses today will want the benefits of a product like Mojo Lens.”

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