Credit: Digital Trends, Mojo AR
Wearing augmented reality enabled contact lenses means our future in AR is eyes-up, instead of heads down
I was intrigued (and excited) to be invited by Digital Intent to listen to their recent podcast interview hosted by Sean Johnson with Steve Sinclair, the Senior Vice President of Product at Mojo Vision, a company Instinctively Real Media has been following.
Mojo Vision uniquely describes themselves as the Invisible Computing company, where over a period of years they’ve created a revolutionary contact lens platform, built-in is the worlds smallest micro display, allowing wearers to view augmented reality overlays anywhere and anytime the wearer decides to activate real world information and digital content throughout their day. Slip them on in the morning for all day usability, by night the lens’ can be charged and cleaned, refreshed for next day use.
As a first product, this isn’t a system that immerses you in over-elaborate AR graphics and VR worlds. This is a system that is in monochrome display which instantly enables you to pull up useful, practical information and content at any moment. Imagine as a firefighter showing oxygen levels of their tank, or a doctor who needs on-the-spot access to a patients vital signs while working with them, use as a virtual teleprompter during speeches and conferences, or B2B cases such as mission critical situations. Sinclair references the experiment where he wears the Mojo Lens whilst closing his eyes, and in another area a colleague flashes a deck of cards in front of a webcam. Amazingly Sinclair can read off each card because he can see them via the smart lens although his eyes remain closed–meaning you’ll actually be able to watch video content with your eyes shut.
User interface and controls will include voice control to bring up visional information, simple gestures, context as to where and what you’re looking at–and primarily the worlds best eye tracking system built into the lens to create a first-ever user interface that controls navigation such as look and select, and point by way of ‘eye gestures’.
The company has opted to remain core to the vision without over complicating with extra added features or colour graphics in order to use the minimal amount of data, and finally come out of stealth to present their first version to the world with a robust, efficient and highly useful product that performs as intended. The product is currently going through testing before it’s fully ready to hit the consumer market.
Importantly, the technology eliminates overload as the lens’ actually remain in off mode where the tech fades away–until you choose to ‘switch on’ to access the knowledge and content you require as and when. We all know of the ongoing development and iterations for AR glasses such as Google Glass and by other various firms, however, Mojo Vision sees the future as hands-free, eyes-up and undistracted which their truly smart Mojo Lens technology enables.
To create the ultimate display in providing information when you want to see it was one of the problem solves undertaken by original founder, Dr. Michael Deering. He understood that matching the high resolution of the human eye, and stripping away unnecessary pixels that the eye couldn’t actually see, and placing it closer to the eye minimised the amount of pixels needed and significantly reduced computation and power requirements. To put into perspective, the lens resolution is 14000 pixels per inch (closely matched to human eye resolution) in comparison to 500-600 pixels per inch available in smart phones and devices. An AR contact lens made the most logical sense and also offered the natural social connections that we humans are accustomed to, opposed to donning eye hardware to activate an AR experience. Together with co-founders Drew Perkins and Mike Wiemer they pulled in their team of experts to produce what is now considered the new wave in Invisible Computing.
The company stems from research and development to correct eyesight and improve low vision conditions to restore independence and mobility to those affected, through outward facing image sensors using AR overlays and contrast enhancements to see objects, and highlight things they wouldn’t normally be able to see. On the other end of the spectrum for those who have unimpaired vision, there are ‘super-power’ capabilities such as seeing in the dark or reading in low light conditions–the use cases are fairly well endless. However, the team believe in simplicity opposed to overcomplicating, and take the holistic approach to usage and the heavy responsibilities that comes with developing a product that is first and foremost a medical device, is by no means taken lightly.
I’ve given an overview on the discussion within the podcast, so I highly recommend listening to the in-depth product and feature explanations including the company’s origins and vision to learn more about this incredible technology that is already setting the pace and pioneering our future in AR and vision technology.