Mojo Vision has made significant headway with its smart contact lens, according to CEO Drew Perkins, who shared a blog post earlier this week confirming that he had successfully worn his company’s “Mojo Lens” as part of the “first ever on-eye demonstration of a feature-complete augmented reality smart contact lens” and that it seemingly works just as well as its engineers had hoped. Perkins detailed how Mojo Vision’s smart contact lens works in his article, confirming a list of “industry-first technologies” in the Mojo Lens that include a 14,000 pixel-per-inch MicroLED display (“the world’s smallest and densest display ever created for dynamic content”), a custom ASIC with 5 GHz radio and ARM Core M0 processor, and an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, all of which assist in tracking eye movements for augmented reality (AR) applications. A compass, on-screen teleprompter with a quote written on it, and a green, monochromatic image of Albert Einstein are just a handful of the images that Perkins was supposedly able to see through the breakthrough product, which doesn’t have a firm release date yet but is expected to be the first AR contact lens to reach consumers. Wearing two lenses at once will allow for 3D visual overlays, according to coverage from CNET, teasing a concept popularized in countless film and game media, including Deus Ex.
- At the heart of Mojo Lens is our 14,000 pixel- per-inch MicroLED display. Measuring less than 0.5mm in diameter with a pixel-pitch of 1.8 microns, it is the world’s smallest and densest display ever created for dynamic content.
- Mojo Vision has developed custom application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs for Mojo Lens that incorporate a 5GHz radio and ARM Core M0 processor that transmit sensor data off the lens and stream augmented reality (AR) content to the MicroLED display.
- Mojo Lens has a custom-configured accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer that continuously track eye movements so that AR imagery is held still as the eyes move.
- Mojo Lens uses a proprietary power management system that includes medical-grade micro-batteries and a Mojo-developed power management integrated circuit.
- Mojo Lens is controlled with a unique and intuitive interface based on eye tracking that allows users to access content and select items without hand or gesture-based controllers, just the natural movement of the eyes.
The company’s only doing tests with one lens in one eye for the moment, although the next goal is to have two lenses worn at once for 3D visual overlays. After Perkins, who’s still just wearing the lens intermittently for about an hour at a time for testing, other executives at the company will be trying the hardware. Perkins says these early stages are just trying to get the hardware on its feet: “We spent lots of time just validating and calibrating the radio, to make sure the radio is working,” he says. “We’re not doing extended-time testing yet. We’ll get there.”
By the end of this year, Mojo Vision’s goal is to test the lens out beyond company executives, to partners such as those interested in exploring fitness and health training possibilities, or investors or journalists. I admit I feel pretty nervous about the idea of putting a lens filled with processors into my eye: the deepest I’ve ever worn tech is earbuds in my ears.
But based on how Perkins describes the state of smart contact lenses, they’re still extremely early in a prototype phase that’s only now just getting to a first-step wearable form. Where they go next will certainly take time, and it’s unclear how quickly that process will move. I know I’ve been amazed by just looking through a lens held a few millimeters from my eye, but actually wearing one is a whole other leap forward.