Smart contact lenses with AR display trialed for the first time

Bye bye, AR headsets?
Ameya Paleja
In eye displays like this may not be farMojo Vision/Twitter  

Mojo Vision, a California-based company that wants to make augmented reality (AR) capable smart contact lenses, has already conducted the first human trial of its technology. Last week, the company's CEO Drew Perkins became the first person to use the contact lenses and shared his experience in a blog post

It was only a few months ago, that we reported how Mojo Vision is working on these smart contact lenses capable of projecting images while sitting on the eye. The company aims to achieve this by packing the world's densest display on a surface that is not more than 0.5 mm in diameter.

In addition to the display, the contact lens also consists of an inbuilt gyroscope, accelerometer as well as a magnetometer that works to track your eye movements to ensure that the AR imagery being displayed holds still, while your eye moves. Not to forget the micro batteries on the device that keep it running through the day as well as recharge wirelessly. 

What can the smart lens do? 

MojoVision wants its users to experience bright text, rich graphics, and even video content through these smart contact lenses, whether they are indoors, outdoors, or even when their eyes are closed.

The company has developed its own intuitive interface that works using eye-tracking technology so that users do not need to make gestures or use a smartphone to interact with the content being relayed. 

With only person to have ever worn them, we have to rely on Perkins' account of the experience. In the blog post, after wearing the contact lenses, Perkins wrote, "I found I could interact with a compass to find my bearings, view images, and use an on-screen teleprompter to read a surprising but familiar quote. I experienced firsthand the future with Invisible Computing."

When will they be available for purchase? 

Short answer, not any time soon. 

The reason for this is not just improvements in technology alone. Mojo Vision has made some considerable progress in terms of technology to make this trial possible. Going forward, the major challenges will be more regulatory in nature. 

Even CEO Perkins needed to undergo preclinical testing and mitigate safety risks before putting the device on. So, before users at large get their hands on these smart contact lenses, Mojo Vision needs to demonstrate that they are safe and will need to conduct several clinical studies in the near future and get approvals from Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Mojo Lens also has plans to open up its device to app developers who will be able to add more features. So, users of upcoming trials will also provide inputs on the software and apps and how they perform on the device, which will be used to fine-tune the experience of using this device.  

"This is a tool that can give people an invisible assistant throughout their day to stay focused without losing access to the information they need to feel confident in any situation," Perkins wrote in the blog post. "Mojo Vision has created a smart contact lens with capabilities that were considered impossible outside of science fiction. Until today."

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