Mojo’s Smart Contact Lenses Begin In-Eye Testing

The connection with books may seem wispy, but PG suspects that the majority of adult readers use some sort of corrective lenses.

From Cnet:

I’ve brought a tiny, chip-studded, display-enabled contact lens made up to my eye, but I never was actually able to wear it. But by the end of 2022, I might get a chance. Mojo Vision’s smart contact lenses, which have been in development for years, are finally being worn internally, starting with the company’s CEO Drew Perkins.

Perkins, who I spoke to over Zoom, has only worn the lens for an hour at a time so far. He likens the first tests to a baby learning to walk: “We’ve now taken that first step. And it’s very exciting.”

Perkins tested a few of the Mojo Lens app demos I tried with the lens on a stick earlier this year, reading text off a teleprompter app that put tiny text floating in a display in front of his eye, and looking at an image of Albert Einstein in green monochrome, which Perkins said “looked great.” He also demoed the lens’ compass app that I tried, which used a built-in magnetometer to show compass readouts in real time. “I was able to spin around 360 degrees and see it [go] from north, to northeast, to east, to southeast,” he said. “It was very cool.”

Mojo Vision’s hardware for the lens requires a neck-worn processor that wirelessly relays information to the lens and back to computers that track the eye movement data for research. For the moment, the setup also requires a special cap with an antenna built in that Perkins is wearing to ensure a smooth connection for early testing.

The lenses have a tiny MicroLED display onboard, a short-range custom wireless radio, a tiny ARM processor and motion tracking in the form of an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. It’s the same lens hardware I looked at off-eye back in the spring of this year. The lenses enable eye-controlled head-up displays to appear to hover in-air, approaching a type of monochromatic Google Glass-like AR interface without glasses.

Link to the rest at Cnet and thanks to F. for the tip.

13 thoughts on “Mojo’s Smart Contact Lenses Begin In-Eye Testing”

  1. This tech is probably a decade away–glasses doing the same will come first–but unavoidable. Unlike VR this tech will give everybody a personal head’s up display (HUD) to replace smartphone screens. Night vision enhancement will likely be a “killer app”. Combined with eye tracking and voice commands everyone will be a “cyborg”. 😀

    (Story fodder if nothing else.)

    Bear in mind: 75% of tbe US population wears glasses or contacts and the rest wears sunglasses part time.

    https://www.essilorusa.com/newsroom/vision-impact-institute-releases-study-on-corrective-lens-wearers-in-the-u-s#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Vision%20Impact%20Institute%20research%2C%203,glasses%20or%20contacts%20changes%20drastically%20as%20people%20age.

    —-

    “According to the Vision Impact Institute research, 3 out of 4 people in the U.S. have vision correction, and of those people, 71% wear glasses and 22% wear contacts.

    However, the number of people wearing corrective glasses or contacts changes drastically as people age. Only 59% of people ages 25-39 wear correctivelenses, while 93% of people between the ages of 65 and 75 wear corrective lenses. The proportion of wearers rapidly increases after the age of 45. This jump in the numbers can be attributed to presbyopia.”

    “The study also found that people are most likely to wear corrective lenses while driving, with 73% of people wearing glasses or contacts every time they get behind the wheel. On the contrary, 27% of glasses wearers never wear their corrective lenses when driving.

    “Additionally, 41% of people needing vision correction don’t wear their corrective lenses while participating in a leisure activity like playing a sport, cooking dinner, or gardening.

    “The study also found that people between the ages of 16 and 25 are looking at screens (e.g. tablets, phones, and computers) more than 3 hours per day. ”
    —-

    Companies are pouring money into these kinds of tech because the market is enormous. MOJO isn’t the only company working on this kind of Augmented Reality tech. Microsoft HOLOLENS was the first successful commercial product but it’s aimed at verticals like doctors, elevator maintenance, and the military, among others. We can be sure the tech is real: Apple is working on a pair of glasses that will release “real-soon-now”.

    As for reading, think of tbe text crawler at tbe beginning of the old STAR WARS movies. Hands-free ereaders.

    For now, the challenges are the usual for displays: miniaturization, resolution, and cost.

    So glasses first, contacts later.

    You’ve been warned. 😉

          • It’s not the same tech. Mojo and its peers are using virtual retina displays.
            Viewing distance is effectively zero so it solves a lot of problems.
            (While introducing others. 😉 )

            Here:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_retinal_display

            “A virtual retinal display (VRD), also known as a retinal scan display (RSD) or retinal projector (RP), is a display technology that draws a raster display (like a television) directly onto the retina of the eye. The user sees what appears to be a conventional display floating in space in front of them.
            In the past similar systems have been made by projecting a defocused image directly in front of the user’s eye on a small “screen”, normally in the form of large glasses. The user focused their eyes on the background, where the screen appeared to be floating. The disadvantage of these systems was the limited area covered by the “screen”, the high weight of the small televisions used to project the display, and the fact that the image would appear focused only if the user was focusing at a particular “depth”. Limited brightness made them useful only in indoor settings as well.[citation needed]

            Only recently a number of developments have made a true VRD system practical. In particular the development of high-brightness LEDs have made the displays bright enough to be used during the day, and adaptive optics have allowed systems to dynamically correct for irregularities in the eye (although this is not always needed). The result is a high-resolution screenless display with excellent color gamut and brightness, far better than the best television technologies.

            The VRD was invented by Kazuo Yoshinaka of Nippon Electric Co. in 1986.[1] Later work at the University of Washington in the Human Interface Technology Lab resulted in a similar system in 1991.[2] Most of the research into VRDs to date has been in combination with various virtual reality systems. In this role VRDs have the potential advantage of being much smaller than existing television-based systems. They share some of the same disadvantages however, requiring some sort of optics to send the image into the eye, typically similar to the sunglasses system used with previous technologies. It also can be used as part of a wearable computer system.[3]

            A Washington-based startup, MicroVision, Inc., has sought to commercialize VRD. Founded in 1993, MicroVision’s early development work was financed by US government defense contracts and resulted in the prototype head-mounted display called Nomad.[4][5]

            In 2018, Intel announced Vaunt, a set of smart glasses that are designed to appear like conventional glasses, which use retinal projection via a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser and holographic grating.[6] Intel gave up on this project,[7] and sold the technology to North.[8]

            In the same year, QD Laser, a Japanese laser maker spun off from Fujitsu, developed the first commercialized true VRD RETISSA Display. In the following year, the firm started to sell the successor VRD RETISSA Display II, which featured a higher resolution equivalent to 720p.

            —-

            FWIW, I’m no fan of VR but I do see a big future for AR (augmented reality) because it “adds* data to the dzy to day world instead of trying to replace it.

      • How do you deal with too much light today?
        Me, I read indoors so I lower the shades. Outdoors, I wear polarized clip-ons or, if I must read, I crank up the screen brightness on the phone or tablet. Both come with automatic brightness but I disable it because I prefer the screen at minimum.h

        MOJO is using microLEDs according to tbe article and those can get really, really bright.

        By tbe time they get around to commercializing tbe things they’ll likely add an LCD layer on the outside to moderate tbe background lighting or go the way of self dimming glass, with electrochemical coatings:

        https://www.gentex.com/products-technology/automotive/dimmable-glass/

        The advantage of contacts like MOJO’s is they effectively “write” the image on the eyeball so they overwrite whatever lies behind the “screen”. Traditional HUDs have a distance between the display and the eye. (That was one of the problems with Google glass.

        Also bear in mind that Mojo is tackling the hardest use case–contacts–which will take time to get to market. The easier case–smart glasses–already exists in an infant form. Some have come and gone, lie Google Glass. By now, others are improving on it. Ray Ban is tacking it in a slightly different form with tbey STORY Sunglasses ($300), tackling everything but the secren. Whatever Apple ships eventually will probably be a mix of both approaches.

        Its like foldable phones: an evolving field.

        It’ll take time but we’ll see both this decade, methinks. 😉

        • How do you deal with too much light today?

          For reading, I use my e-ink Kindles and leave the tablets and phones inside where I can if necessary close the blinds. Or I go real old tech and haul out something printed on paper.

          Presumably all these devices have wi-fi and internet connections? So you’ll need a really good adblocker and security systems or you’ll end up with one of the nastier SF predictions, the least of which being that all the local shops are blocking your sight with “come in and spend” invitations.

          Also, though many wear glasses, for most it is not by choice# and just as one industry is building up to computerise the glasses another big one is developing treatments to give “natural” perfect vision to everyone. So are we going to end up with everyone having perfect eyes hiding behind computer enhanced sunglasses?

          (# sun glasses are a necessity in some circumstances but this does not include their use indoors by “wannabe cool” types.)

          • Your scenario is far from impossible: plenty of people wear (sun)glasses as a fashion statement. Personal accessories need not be functional. (Remember hats?) I find it easy to envision a world where everybody keeps their distance (pandemic habit) and wears shades to avoid direct eye contact. Stranger customs have evolved.

            Current smart glasses are, and first-gen contacts will be, smartphone peripherals, much like wireless earbuds. They are all part of the long predicted Personal Area Network and will have limited connectivity. Eventually the phone is likely to evolve into a personal server, and the hub for connectivity, security, and local data.

            https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/overview-of-personal-area-network-pan/

            • I do remember hats – in fact I own a couple – but they were never entirely a fashion statement, especially for men. They are not even that uncommon now – if you include baseball caps, and on building sites the hard hat prevails, as a replacement for the once ubiquitous bowler. However, the almost universal inclusion of hoods in cold/wet weather garments has mostly taken over their function in the UK.

              Mine are for protection against hot sunlight – and thus mostly a holiday accessory – kind of equivalent to the pith helmets old time British soldiers wore to protect against heat stroke. Maybe these are due for a revival; you could build an awful lot of electronic functionality into the space provided by a pith helmet.

              I’m uncertain how pandemic habits will play out or whether we will go back to “normal” despite the continuing high infection rates. I’m waiting to see how things pan out. The only change I know for certain is that my wife is going to wear a N-95 mask for a lot of her outside activities: forget covid, it really helps with her hay fever.

              And will these Personal Area Networked people have any hope of coping come a Carrington event?

            • I confess. I fell hard. I got an Aftershokz headset that transmits sound through the bones where my jaw hinges. Fits around the back of the head. Weighs one ounce. Both ears. Small boom mike swivels into place. My ears are open so I can also hear everything around me. Think of listening to a radio in a room with other people. We hear it all.

              I forget I’m wearing it and have become the dork wandering around all day with the headset. Blue tooth to phone, computer, or TV.

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