🗣 Mojo Vision started in 2015 and has raised eight rounds of funding totaling $204 million. Investors include Amazon’s venture fund, Stanford’s StartX fund, Motorola, LG, Khosla Ventures, and a who’s who of venture capitalists.
Apparently, inventing the future isn’t easy.
It’s been seven years for them to arrive where it is today: a feature-complete smart contact lens in an internal prototype that is now ready for real-world testing and is the company’s first real candidate for a releasable product.
The vision (groaner) is huge: a lens that could eventually replace smartphones, smartwatches, augmented reality glasses, and even virtual reality headsets. That’s a big ask, and it’s taken some serious science, engineering, and iteration to get to even a first potential product.
Athletes might like for seeing routes and performance data; technicians might like for seeing schemata overlaying aircraft engines or building superstructures; anyone who uses a smartwatch or smartphone today might like it for quicker, more accessible data delivery or augmented reality experiences than they can get from existing devices. And those with limited vision can use it to highlight dangers and routes, Mojo says
Let’s dive deeper into how it works!
🗣 Currently, the Mojo smart contact lens boasts:
👉 A 14,000 pixels per inch MicroLED display, the world’s smallest at with 5 millimeters in diameter, and densest with a pixel-pitch of just 1.8 microns
👉 5GH ultra-low latency radio to stream AR content
👉 ARM processor
👉 Continuous eye tracking via custom-configured accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers
👉 Medical-grade in-lens batteries
👉 Eye-controlled user interface
👉 Low Latency Communication
The contact lens connects with an external controller that you might wear like a necklace, where all the heavy computing happens. It uses a proprietary 5GHz radio because Bluetooth is too slow and has too high latency. And the optic includes a “teeny, tiny, reverse Cassegrain telescope like the Hubble” built into the lens. The result is eye tracking that’s a 10X improvement over anything else available today, and the ability to build an eye-controlled user interface.
“Basically, it’s all about giving you superpowers,” Mojo VP Steven Sinclair told me recently on the TechFirst podcast. “We’re building the world’s first, true augmented reality smart contact lens. So, something that you could put on your eye, see content when you want to see it, have it disappear when you’re not using it, so you look like yourself and you’re engaged in the real world.”
Interestingly, vision is only part of the plan for this smart contact lens. Other things Mojo is working on are checking the tear fluid on your eyes, measuring intraocular pressure, or checking for early onset of glaucoma. The eyes are a great platform for health sensors, Sinclair says, and that is on the menu as well as enhanced vision and data delivery via AR.
🗣 This Mojo Lens prototype is a huge step forward with more firsts and bests than we can enumerate in a single blog post. They have advanced hardware innovations in the areas of display, communications, power, and eye-tracking. With these critical features coming together, Mojo can now iterate new Invisible Computing experiences that will bring new benefits to people for both everyday and mission-critical needs.
Alongside the hardware development, they have been investing in software experiences for Mojo Lens. In the new prototype, the software team has built foundational operating system code and user experience (UX) components for the first time. The new software allows for further development and testing of important use cases partners and customers.
The new Mojo Lens prototype accelerates the development of Invisible Computing, their next-generation computing experience where information is available and presented only when needed. This eye-up experience allows users to access timely information quickly and discreetly without forcing them to look down at a screen or lose focus on the people and the world around them.
Mojo is trying to change our relationship with devices and break down these barriers to fundamental personal connections by letting you be more like yourself wherever your day takes you.
🗣 Mojo’s CEO drew Perkins, has a clear statement on their new lenses:
When I ask people when they think they’ll see smart contact lenses being worn, I hear answers ranging from 10 years from now, 20 years, all the way to it’ll never happen. Turns out, the future is a lot closer than most people think. In fact, the future is already here. I’ve seen it. I’ve worn it.
He for sure seems convinced, so let’s now dive into his testimony and experience!
In his words, Mojo Vision started in 2015 with a clear mission – to help individuals reach their highest potential in work, play, and life while staying connected to people and events in the real world. To build an augmented reality smart contact lens, they pushed the boundaries of physics and electronics miniaturization with the belief that no problem is too complex to be solved: “Because we’re building something that didn’t previously exist, our development teams had to invent many of the components and systems needed, as well as the user interface”.
His testimony after using them is what excited the most!
Wearing the lens was inspiring. Seeing the future left me at a loss for words. As I wore the lens and thought about the different components and subsystems contained within, I was reminded that every one of our development teams achieved great success within their disciplines. But to have optics, electronics, mechanical systems, and software all operating at the same time – and seeing it happen – was a historic achievement! For the entire team, this represents a major step towards the potential for Mojo Lens to improve the lives of millions of people.
🗣 The company hopes to see Mojo Lens change the lives of individuals with vision impairment by improving their ability to perform daily tasks that many of us take for granted, or amateur and professional athletes wearing Mojo Lens so they can train smarter, stay focused, and reach peak performance.
Looking at the big picture, the ideals and principles established for Mojo Vision in 2015 are coming to life, one milestone at a time. Exploring Use Cases and refining the Lens, the company will now select partners to begin extensive user testing and analysis, software application prototyping, and overall system and product optimization.
In addition to clinical testing on the normally sighted, they will begin clinical evaluations of the lens with individuals that are visually impaired to continue forward the mission to assist the millions of people that have some form of uncorrectable vision loss.
Since 2019, Mojo Vision has been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its Breakthrough Devices Program to develop a discreet low vision aid. This is a voluntary program designed to provide safe and timely access to medical devices that can help treat irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions.
😁 We hope to see many advances in the near future and are eager to try them out ourselves. Eyes up everyone!