While Meta and other tech companies are pouring huge amounts of money into developing different kinds of virtual and augmented reality headsets, a much smaller California company may be running ahead of them to the right. Mojo Vision was founded in 2015 with the goal of creating smart contact lenses that show the wearer augmented reality graphics with useful information for day to day. 7 years later, Mojo Vision has a functional prototype that has been announced began testing last June.
The Mojo Lens is still far from being a commercial product, but it is already a reality. Drew Perkins, CEO of Mojo Vision, became the first test subject of this product on the 23rd, which will later be tested by other company executives. “With this advancement, we now have a testing platform to help us refine and build Mojo Lens that will ultimately will lead to submission to the FDA for commercial approvalPerkins notes in a post on the company’s blog. “To achieve this, we will carry out several Clinical studies to test the capabilities and provide feedback on the software and applications”, he adds.
Perkins explains that to build a smart contact lens “we have pushed the limits of miniaturization of physics and electronics” and, since this is a new product category, “our development teams had to invent many of the necessary components and systems, as well as the user interface”.
How do Mojo Lenses work?
The Mojo Lens incorporates a 14,000 pixels per inch MicroLED displayof less than 0.5mm diameter and with a pixel size of 1.8 microns which Perkins defines as “the smallest and densest screen in the world ever created for dynamic content”.
Augmented reality images are projected on this screen that provide access to a series of information that the user can use throughout the day. In tests carried out by Perkins, he was able to see a compass that indicated the north as it changed position, text projected on the screen that I could read clearly and a image, monochrome in green, by Albert Einstein. The uses will depend on the ecosystem of applications that are developed for the Mojo Lens, but the company believes that the information displayed can help, for example, to athletes to train more efficiently professionals so they can stay more focused on their tasks or visually impaired people.
The lens does not work independently but is connected wirelessly to a device worn around the neck and it has a 5GHz radio and a processor ARM Core M0 to communicate with the Mojo Lens sensor and transmit augmented reality content to the MicroLED screen. They also have accelerometer, gyroscope Y magnetometer configured for track eye movement and that AR (augmented reality) images stay still as the eye moves.
Mojo Lens employ a patented power management system that includes medical-grade micro batteries and a Mojo-developed power management IC.
The company has developed a user interface that tracks eye movement to access content and select items on the screen without resorting to voice commands, although these can be used.
“Using the lens was inspiring. Seeing the future literally left me speechless”, explains Perkins, “having optics, electronics, mechanical systems and software running at the same time, and seeing it happen, was a historic achievement!” At the moment, he wears a lens for periods of no more than an hour, although one of the objectives is to be able to use two lenses simultaneously in order to superimpose three-dimensional images.
Following Perkins, other company executives will test the product, and by the end of the year they hope to test it with more individuals outside the company and potential partners such as those interested in its health and fitness apps, investors and journalists.
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