Augmented Reality: Mojo Vision Smart Contact Lenses Connect the Virtual and Real Worlds

A Mojo Vision contact lens.

Mojo Vision's smart contact lenses. (Image: via Mojo Vision)

While you can find first-generation augmented reality (AR) glasses such as Google Glasses, they have not yet reached the stage of mass adoption. That is about to change with Mojo Vision lenses. There are some limitations to using such wearable devices as well. Wouldn’t it be great if all the data, images, and videos would appear in front of your eyes, rather than having to stare at screens for hours? It sounds like science fiction, but smart Mojo Vision contact lenses may get into mass production within a few years. 

Mojo Vision, a little-known Silicon Valley start-up, is set to manufacture next-generation AR data glasses. The first-ever smart contact lens globally boasts a 14000 PPI display laden with image stabilization and eye-tracking. While the existing AR glasses project images upon a glass screen, the upcoming Mojo Vision smart lens projects images onto the retina.

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A smart contact lens prototype was exhibited at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in 2021. Mojo Vision’s Product Management Director David Hobbs said: “[The Mojo Vision lens] is a contact lens that essentially has wireless power and data transmission for a small micro LED projector placed over the center of the eye. “[It] displays critical heads-up information when you need it and fades into the background when you’re ready to continue with your day.”

Mojo Vision will power its smart contact lens with an external computer pack. ( Image: Mojo Vision)

Even before the device gets into the commercial production phase, Mojo Vision has received accolades from many quarters for its innovation. It can be used to make life easier for almost 2.2 billion people coping with vision impairment.

American Academy of Optometry fellow member Dr. Ashley Tuan says: “If you think of the eye as a camera [for the visually impaired], the sensors are not working properly. For this population, our lens can process the image so the contrast can be enhanced, we can make the image larger, magnify it so that low-vision people can see it, or we can make it smaller to check their environment.” The FDA has given Breakthrough Device Designation to the innovation for carrying out clinical trials.

Mojo Vision lenses are discreet and easy to use

Dr. Tuan is among the handful of people who have used the lens. She says the smart lens is not much different from the usual contact lens types as far as usage goes. The vision is clear, letting the wearer see things even with eyes closed. Existing electronic glasses like the Nueyes Pro and Acesight have similar mechanisms, but they are somewhat cumbersome and oversized. Mojo Vision lenses are easier to use, and you can be discreet while using their functionalities. Others will not realize you are using a smart contact lens at all. 

A bike rider with Mojo Vision contact lens.
The lenses use a tiny projector to send information to your retinas. (Image: Mojo Vision)

The smart contact lens will benefit many types of users. However, the company aims it at the people living with vision impairments. American Academy of Ophthalmology spokesperson Dr. Thomas Steinemann says: “In the case of augmented-reality contact lenses, there could be an opportunity to improve the lives of people with low vision. Of course, there are existing tools for people with low vision — such as digital apps, magnifiers, etc. — but something wearable could provide more flexibility and significantly more aid in day-to-day tasks.”

Dr. Tuan thinks this smart lens will help the vision-impaired lot to live a better life. They often fare poorly in jobs and feel sad about their limitations. This device will help enhance their mobility. She thinks using augmented reality headsets in typical medical setups is not smooth. There are no woes like the headset or glasses slipping down your nose with the Mojo Vision lens. The smart lens figures out when to project the visuals onto the user’s retina. It can, therefore, be used in medical setups in many ways. It can be beneficial for deaf and autistic people, for example.

As of now, the Mojo Vision lens is still in the development stage, and it may take a couple of years before commercial production can occur. However, the team is upbeat about the prospects. First, they will need regulatory clearance before selling it to mainstream users.

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