A California-based company called Mojo Vision is working on smart contact lenses that’ll take basic computing services, like browsing your calendar, checking your commute, and queuing up your next podcast from your smartphone or smartwatch to your field of view.
The company’s key product, called Mojo Lens, is still very much a prototype, according to Wired, which reported on the company and its halo product on Thursday. Wired got to test the proposed interface, which relies on shortcuts at the edges of the wearer’s vision, but only using a VR headset with eye-tracking, rather than actual sample contact lenses.
Designed for “Invisible computing” — Mojo Lens proposes many of the same features promised by augmented reality smart glasses but removes some of the awkwardness of the interface. People are still likely to notice when you look up and left while speaking to them, but contact lenses would certainly be less obtrusive than smart glasses.
On its website, Mojo Vision talks up a sort of contextual awareness that would allow its lenses to feed the wearer pertinent and timely information, rather than bombarding them with constant notifications. For that to happen it’s going to need to connect to the key services in your life. And that’s going to mean partnerships, probably with the likes of Google or Apple.
Vision correction benefits, too — Like regular contact lenses, Mojo Vision’s smart version will also be able to correct wearers’ vision. In fact, the company is initially focusing its efforts on solutions for the visually impaired, both because its product is well suited to the cause, and because doing so gets it a fast-track license from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will have to approve any product before it can be commercialized.
Once Magic Leaped, twice shy — An impressive demo is one thing, a commercially viable product is another. We’re going to reserve judgment on the Mojo Lens until we’ve actually had the chance to try it out. And that could take some time. Aside from the regulatory and partnership hurdles that’ll need to be overcome, Mojo Vision will have to figure out how to reliably power its contact lenses. For now, it’s using a wrist-worn device, but adding another wearable to something that’s meant to be simpler than existing solutions isn’t ideal.
We’re absolutely ready for the smart contact lens future, but we’re also pragmatist. We’ve gotten excited about life-changing products before only to be let down. So this time, we're going to remain cautiously optimistic.