It sounds like science fiction to think that smart contact lenses are possible. There is a race to develop contact lenses that can give you superhuman vision. They will also offer head-up displays, video cameras and medical sensors. These products are actually being developed.
Sounds unreal, right? It turns out, however, that the ideal place for technology is in the eyeballs.
Smart contact lenses work just like implants, but they don’t need surgery. They can be removed and inserted by the user. They don’t stay on the skin for long periods of time. They are exposed to air and body’s internal chemistry.
Contact lenses are placed on the eyes and can improve vision. Contact lenses are exposed to light and mechanical movements of blinking so that they can capture energy.
Mojo discovered that precise, fast, and accurate eye tracking is essential. If projected objects were not tracked accurately, they would be all over our field of vision as our eyes moved about. It is an amazing feat to have a bulky eye-tracker built into contact lenses for research projects. Unlike a complex, eye-tracking hardware device, as lenses move with your eye, the only hardware required is the typical accelerometer/magnetometer/gyro setup.
Mojo Vision Fellow Brian Lemoff, a Stanford University lecturer in SCIEN, explained the many benefits of this approach to a virtual gathering. The first is that the viewer doesn’t have to be in or out of a particular eye box. Instead, the projector lens and projector are always focused on the fovea. This means the wearer can see the lenses. This allows you to overlay real-world objects in your scene and not have the content jump around. If you want to display the names of people, it’s better to have them near each other than moving around when you look around. The femtoprojector’s small size means that it has a large depth of focus (DOF) so everything it projects is always in the focus. That eliminates any issues with vergence/accommodation conflicts.
The company’s prototype uses a special pair tethered glasses to beam information to its lens. To control the product, another wearable will be required to connect it to your phone. It could be available in many different forms.
Applications of Smart Contact Lenses
Mojo is open to many applications. Mike Weimer, the company’s CTO and co-founder, walked us through many possibilities. Many of these options echo the traditional AR companies’ long-standing promotion of sports and location overlays, names and faces of people, real-time translation of signs and other text, and other AR companies that have promoted them for years. The contact lens form factor offers additional possibilities, particularly for the visually impaired. For example, edges could be enlarged and objects identified. Also, night vision could be improved.
Blood Sugar Monitoring
Smart contacts are likely to be able monitor diabetes levels through taking measurements of the glucose levels in the tears of the user. Diabetics will be able to skip the finger prick test that is routinely administered to diabetics.
Eye Medication Contacts
Researchers have developed contact lenses that deliver medicine directly to the eyes over the course of days or even weeks. Doctors can treat glaucoma, or prescribe contacts which aid in recovering from surgery on the eye. Contact wearers will find it more convenient to wear the contact instead of having to remember to apply eye drops.
Contact lenses of today provide vision correction, but a lot of users of glasses use bifocals and progressive lenses. Contact lenses that are smart can automatically adjust to allow the user to be able to see close and distant. They will no longer have lines of vision. It is no longer necessary to turn one’s head to look at various distances.
Mojo Recognizes Privacy Is Important
Mojo’s architecture also focuses on privacy. The image sensor can only be used to assist in vision tasks. All processing of data can be done locally. There will be many apps that connect to the cloud. Therefore, developers and the company will need to provide transparent ways for users to understand what information is being shared.
Smart contact lenses may soon be included on the smart wearable device list. Market watchers predict that the smart contact lens market will explode soon.
It’s not surprising that Google and Samsung will be at the forefront of the smart lens market. Both companies have been laying the foundations for smart contact lenses. Samsung is the third major player after Sensimed AG, Google and Sony.
We have heard many times about Samsung’s involvement in smart contact lenses. In 2016, Samsung applied for a patent for smart contact lenses. Samsung has been researching smart technologies related to optics for over a decade now. Although there isn’t an official statement from Samsung on smart contact lenses, we can only hope that this technology will be right there when it happens. RationalStat projects that the smart contact lens market will grow at a 24.8% CAGR over 2022-2028.