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Mojo Vision said it has created a new prototype of its Mojo Lens augmented reality contact lenses. This smart contact lens will bring invisible computing to life, the company says.
The Mojo Lens prototype represents a critical milestone for the company in its development, testing and validation process, and is an innovation at the intersection of smartphones, augmented reality/virtual reality, smart wearables and health technology.
The prototype includes numerous new hardware features and technologies embedded directly into the lens – improving display, communication, eye tracking and power system.
For the past two years, Saratoga, California-based Mojo Vision has also invested in several software experiences for Mojo Lens. In this new prototype, the company has built fundamental operating system code and user experience (UX) components for the first time. The new software will enable further development and testing of key use cases for consumers and partners.
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The initial target market is for people with low vision, as it will be a medically approved device that can help partially blind people see things like road signs better.
“We don’t call this a product,” said Steve Sinclair, senior vice president of product and marketing, in an interview with VentureBeat. “We call it a prototype. Over the next year, we’ll take what we’ve learned from this, as we now understand how to build a smart contact lens with all the elements. It’s now optimization. It’s software development. It is experience development. It’s a safety test. It’s really understanding how it works as a visually impaired product for that first customer we’re interested in.”
Mojo Lens does monochrome AR on a contact lens.
This new Mojo Lens prototype will further accelerate the development of invisible computing (a term coined long ago by the technologist Don Norman), a next-generation computing experience where information is only available and presented when needed. This eye-up experience allows users to quickly and discreetly access current information without forcing them to look at a screen or lose focus on the people and the world around them.
Mojo has identified the first consumer use of invisible computing for performance athletes and recently announced strategic partnerships with leading sports and fitness brands, such as Adidas Running, to collaborate on hands-free experiences.
Mojo has worked with its new partners to find unique ways to improve athletes’ access to current or during data. Mojo Lens can give athletes a competitive advantage, allowing them to stay focused on their workout or training and maximize their performance, without the distraction of traditional wearables.
“Mojo has created advanced fundamental technologies and systems that were not possible before. Innovating the new features in the lens is a huge amount of work, but successfully bringing them all together in an integrated system in such a small form factor is a significant achievement in cross-disciplinary product development,” said Mike Wiemer, co-founder and chief technology Mojo Vision officer, in a statement, said: “We’re excited to share our progress and can’t wait to start testing Mojo Lens in real-world scenarios.”
“A lot of this last year has been trying to make everything work here and get it into a form factor that works electrically,” Sinclar said. “But also, from a portability standpoint, we’ve done everything we could to make sure some of us can start wearing it safely.”
The company has hired a number of people to build the software team. And that team has built prototype applications.
A close up look
The Mojo Lens up close.
I saw Mojo’s prototype and demo in 2019 before, but then there wasn’t much meat to the bones. It still uses a green monochrome color for all of its images, but there are many more components built on the sides of the glass that allow for things like internet connectivity, Sinclair said.
It will be based on a glass contact lens, as plastic will not accommodate the various pieces of computer hardware that will be embedded in the device. So it is hard and does not bend. It features sensors such as motion-sensitive accelerometers, gyroscopes, and a magnetometer, as well as a custom radio for communications.
“We have included all system elements that we believe will fit into the first product. And we’ve integrated them into a complete system embedded in the contact lens form factor and electrically powered and ready to start testing,” Sinclair said. “We call this our feature-complete lens.”
It has a power management chip, a small image sensor and a small microprocessor.
He said, “What we showed you in there was that in 2019 that lens had some basic imaging capabilities built in and display capabilities built in, some basic computing capabilities and antenna. One of the big changes that we’ve made from that lens to this lens is that we from wireless power, i.e. magnetic inductive coupling, to a true onboard battery system, so we found that the magnetic coupling just didn’t provide a consistent power source.”
Ultimately, the finished product will have a way of obscuring the electronics and making it look more like part of your eye. The eye-tracking sensors are more accurate because they’re on the eye, Sinclair said.
In the application demo, I had to peer through some fake lenses that showed me what you would see if you looked through the lenses. I saw a green UI overlaid on the real world. The green color is energy efficient, but the team is also working on a full-color display for its second-generation product. The monochrome lens can display 40,000 pixels per inch, but the color screen would be denser than that.
I could stare at part of the image and essentially double-click on something, which would activate a part of the app that took me to the application.
Steve Sinclair is a senior vice president at Mojo Vision.
There was a reticle, so I knew where to aim. I could hover over an icon and look at the corner of it and activate the software program. Among the apps: I could view the route of my bike ride, or I could read text on a teleprompter. It wasn’t that hard to read the text. I could also use a compass to know which direction was which.
“These are just examples of things we can build,” Sinclair said.
A detailed synopsis of the features was released today in a blog post from the company. For software, the company will eventually create a software development kit (SDK) that others can use to create their own applications.
“This latest prototype of Mojo Lens demonstrates significant advances in the development of our platform and the goals for our business,” said Drew Perkins, CEO of Mojo Vision, in a statement. “Six years ago, we had a vision for this experience and faced a huge number of design and technology challenges. But we had the expertise and confidence to tackle them and have made consistent groundbreaking progress over the years.”
The expanded view of the Mojo Lens.
Since 2019, Mojo Vision has partnered 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. .
Mojo Vision has raised more than $205 million in funding to date from investors including NEA, Advantech Capital, Liberty Global Ventures, Gradient Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Shanda Group, Struck Capital, HiJoJo Partners, Dolby Family Ventures, HP Tech Ventures, Fusion Fund, Motorola Solutions, Edge Investments, Open Field Capital, Intellectus Ventures, Amazon Alexa Fund, PTC and others.
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This post Mojo Vision unveils the latest augmented reality contact lens prototype
was original published at “https://venturebeat.com/2022/03/30/mojo-vision-unveils-latest-augmented-reality-contact-lens-prototype/”