Ever thought to yourself, why on earth can't I have super-powered vision like The Six Million Dollar Man? Or bionic eyes with Augmented Reality just like concepts portrayed in Iron Man and Mission Impossible?
Drew Perkins did and in 2015 he started a company to make it happen. Earlier this year Mojo Vision revealed a prototype smart contact lens that could augment your future.
“When I finally put the very first lens on, it blew my mind,” Perkins enthused. “It’s like in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ when Dave Bowman looked into the obelisk and saw stars. This changes everything. Human vision. Man’s relationship with technology. Human health. The future!”
Blimey. Well let’s take a closer look.
It’s based on the smallest and densest dynamic display ever made – technology we covered in previous post. The 14K PPI Display delivers a world-record pixel pitch of over 14,000ppi and a pixel density of over 200Mppi.
Also onboard is a power-efficient image sensor able to recognise the objects you're looking at and bring up contextual information.
It also has a custom wireless radio and motion sensors for eye-tracking and image stabilisation.
Concentrating firepower on a contact lens assumes we all want to overlay essential data and graphics onto our world, but without wearing obtrusive hardware.
Not only are AR glasses in their current form bulky they disrupt face-to-face interactions with other people.
Mojo Vision talks about Invisible Computing, one where we can stay connected with the world, surroundings, and communications, without the distraction of a device or stigma or a headset.
It's a vision that has so far raised over $100 million in investments from venture capital and also Motorola, LG and Liberty Global.
“Our goal is to bring people's eyes up, to get them more engaged in the world around them, get their heads out of their screens,” says the company’s chief product and marketing person Steve Sinclair.
A perfect heads up display.
The lenses are made of rigid gas permeable lenses that rests on the sclera — the white of your eye — forming a vault over your cornea.
They are specifically designed for the specific topology of the wearer's eyes so that the display embedded on the Mojo lens remains pointed at your fovea, where the centre of your field of vision is found.
A review of the prototype (via a VR headset), described what you’d see as follows: “I flick my eyeballs upward until a little green dot appears, floating in front of me. When I stare at that dot, it expands into a pop-up window with a small, easy-to-digest list of routes home, and how long each one will take me. I can make that info disappear by looking away, without even turning my head.”
The system isn’t quite as invisible as it sounds. The lenses will connect wirelessly to an accessory you wear near your head and that device will be tethered to a smartphone that pulls data from the cloud.
Mojo Vision currently has the lens in R&D including conducting feasibility clinical studies under the clinical guidance of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) in the US.
The company is planning an early application of the product designed to help people struggling with low vision through enhanced image overlays. This application is designed to provide real-time contrast and lighting enhancements as well as zoom functionality.
The ability to see in low light or even in the dark could help a whole host of workers from firefighters to police to bar staff as well as opening a giant can of privacy issues.
Imagine recording video or still images with just the blink of a shutter/eye? What’s more, the lenses project light in front of the user’s eye - meaning it can still be seen when their eyes are shut.
Anyone who has worn contact lenses will know the feeling of going to bed thinking you’ve removed them only to find (typically after a night on the sauce) that they are still there in the morning. From personal experience it can take a little while for the penny to drop and you wonder why you’ve either got 20/20 vision or an unshakeable blur. Imagine then waking up, hungover, and finding yourself locked into some virtual horror world like a Black Mirror implant.
That would quickly make you go mad and want to gouge your eyeballs out with a spoon.