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We’ve heard of AR headsets and glasses that project around us incredibly immersive experiences from gaming to training simulations. There have been promising concepts like Google Glass, the prototype that would allow you to access apps and smartphone features that you can see in real-time through glass lenses. Other products like Oculus and HoloLens have successfully implemented their software and hardware into the market.
But what we’ve never heard of before, though, is smart contact lenses. The AR experience that comes even closer than through glasses by being literally on your eyeballs. It’s sounds like an incredible idea but how can a miniature screen ever fit on a contact lens? How could it ever be comfortable? Is it safe?
Thankfully, we haven’t really had to think about those things but Mojo Vision, a Californian startup, has. They’ve taken the task into their own hands with the hopes of producing something of the sort. It all starts with the development of a screen that actually fits on a contact lens and that displays 14,000 pixels per inch which would allow users to view AR images straight from their eyeballs.
They call this ‘Invisible Computing’.
The lenses themselves contain batteries and MicroLEDs, and have between five and 10 times the brightness capabilities than that of organic light-emitting diodes meaning that they can be used outdoors.
Obviously, this project is still in the works but has raised about $108 million in funding for the prototype. Mojo Vision will be hoping to eventually commercialise the product and are extensively in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration to fast track the use of the lenses by those who have vision impairments. If this project does make its way onto the market we could see it being used trivially and for entertainment purposes as well as for those who genuinely have difficulty seeing.
With augmented reality becoming more and more a reality in today’s society, we can expect innovations like this to become the norm in the coming decades, but the fact that this kind of product is already potentially on the cards is extremely exciting and something to keep an eye on – pun intended.