A smart contact lens that offers AR is expected to be on the market in the near future. (Source: Mojo Vision)

AR Lens Development Underway to Overlay Data, Images on the User’s View

It’s an idea that has been around for a long time. Taking information, feeding it into glasses, and having the wearer access that information and more just by moving their line of sight to a different object. Augmented reality programs have been around a while, but they are really getting a boost from AI and the collaboration between an American and Japanese tech company.

“Saratoga, California-based Mojo Vision has developed a smart contact lens with a tiny built-in display that lets you view augmented reality images on a screen sitting right on your eyeballs. It’s a pretty amazing innovation, but the company has to make sure that it works with contact lenses. The partnership with Menicon will help the company do that, Mojo Vision chief technology officer Mike Wiemer said in an interview with venturebeat.com.

“It’s a development agreement, and it could turn into a commercial agreement,” Wiemer said. “I’m very excited to work with them.”

Under the joint-development agreement, the two companies will work on production and manufacturing feasibility studies, exploring a potential long-term working relationship as Mojo tries to commercialize the technology.

Mojo Vision is developing Mojo Lens, which it calls the first true smart contact lens. Nagoya, Japan-based Menicon claims to be the only company in the world dedicated to all areas of contact lens-related business, including material development, lens designing, rigid gas permeable lens technology, manufacturing of lenses and care solutions.

“These are the challenges for us,” Wiemer said. “We have to get our teams to work together.”

Mojo Lens overlays monochrome images, symbols, and text on users’ natural fields of vision without obstructing their view, restricting mobility, or hindering social interactions. The company is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its Breakthrough Devices Program, a voluntary program designed to provide safe and timely access to medical devices that can help treat irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions.

In April 2020, Mojo announced it had raised more than $51 million in a funding round; $159 million to date. With more than 100 employees, the company had developed relationships with most of the major contact lens companies to develop a new, more advanced prototype than the one unveiled last January.

Its prototypes for contact lenses that enable people to see augmented reality images as overlays on the real world led to the deal with Menicon, Japan’s largest and oldest maker of contact lenses. The tech could save time and costs in the workplace and improve travel experiences with instant guidance.

In a story on fastcompany.com last January, the writer used VR to experience the AR vision and described it as giving his eyes “superpowers.” Uses cited ranged from alerts for firefighters about oxygen levels, battleground information for soldiers, identification of clients for service professionals like hoteliers and assistance or vision improvement for people with optical degeneration.

read more at venturebeat.com