What happened?

MOJO introduced the first working prototype of their smart contact lens, which superimposes digital information on the user’s field of view. The device uses a high-density monochrome MicroLed display and allows simple information like text and iconography to be displayed, useful for notifications, navigation and information retrieval. However, the prototype could not yet be fully used on the eye, as the first in-eye demo will be introduced later this year.

What does this mean?

Miniaturization of display, power– and compute-tech is finally reaching dimensions in which wearables can become smaller, intimate and be adapted to the human body. Consequently, the MOJO prototype is a significant step towards the disappearing computer paradigm, in which computers become more and more embedded in our environment and ourselves, thereby becoming practically translucent. In effect, information consumption will increasingly become an obscure, internal and intimate activity, comparable with thinking, which is not directly noticeable for the outside world. This will have some practical advantages, some ethical challenges (e.g. AR facial recognition, privacy) and will further disrupt the knowledge economy as knowledge will become more easily accessible in context.

What’s next?

Currently, the device only crudely overlays digital information without much fine-grained visual interaction between physical and visual objects. However, according to MOJO, future iterations of their smart lens will have more motion-tracking and image-sensing functions allowing for both eye tracking and object tracking, thereby enabling more complex mixed reality experiences. Apart from tracking, the smart lens industry also needs to solve other issues like power supply, processing power, wireless communication and image quality before smart lenses become user friendly. Until that moment comes, smart glasses will do much of the AR heavy lifting.