Mojo Vision Unveils New Augmented Reality Contact Lens Prototype with Apps and Battery 16
Mojo Vision Unveils New Augmented Reality Contact Lens Prototype with Apps and Battery 17

Mojo Vision Unveils New Augmented Reality Contact Lens Prototype with Apps and Battery

There is a process of optimizing the technology to a state in which it can, in principle, be used

Mojo Vision announced the creation of a new prototype of augmented reality contact lenses. In its current form, Mojo Lens includes many new technologies built directly into the lens – improved display of information, wireless connectivity, eye-tracking and a battery-powered system. 

The Saratoga-based company has also invested in various software products over the past two years. In a fresh prototype, Mojo launched its own operating system, applications, and user experience components for the first time. The new software will speed up the development and testing of gadget options for consumers and partners.

Steve Sinclair, senior vice president of products and marketing for Mojo Vision, tries not to mislead the public: this is not a product, but a prototype. There is a process of optimizing the technology to a state in which it can, in principle, be used. Including software development, UX development, security tests. 

The initial target market is people with low vision, as the lens needs to be approved as a medical device that will help partially blind people see things like road signs better. 

Athletes can follow the visually impaired, another person who should not be distracted by screens, who need to keep their hands free and who can get in the way of smart glasses. To develop this direction, along with the latest impressive funding round, the company has entered into partnerships with brands from different sports, including Adidas Running (running), Trailforks (cycling and hiking), Wearable X (yoga), Slopes (skiing) and 18Birdies (golf).

The new prototype has changed significantly since 2020. It still works with a green monochrome display, but has been flanked with fresh components such as a radio transmitter. It is based on a special contact lens made of hard gas-permeable plastic. Flexible housing for electronics is not yet suitable. The list of sensors includes an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a magnetometer. There is a power management chip, a tiny image sensor and a microprocessor. 

The result is, for the first time, a device that you can power up and start testing at least somewhat close to real scenarios.

Mojo Vision Unveils New Augmented Reality Contact Lens Prototype with Apps and Battery 18

The 2019–2020 prototype had some basic imaging capabilities, basic processing power, and an antenna. One of the biggest changes since then has been the shift from trying to wirelessly supply power from magnetic induction to an onboard battery. Induction simply could not provide constant power.

Mojo Vision’s in-lens eye tracking sensors are said to be more accurate due to their proximity to the subject being tracked. And they want to replace the energy-efficient green color in the future – in the second generation device, whatever that means – with a full-color image. A monochrome display can display 14,000 ppi, but the color one the company is currently working on will be tighter.

The gadget interface responds to user actions, opens applications. This was told by a journalist from VentureBeat, who was invited to an exclusive test. By hovering over the application icons, he could activate them: for example, look up the route of a bicycle trip, read the text on the teleprompter (and this was not difficult), or determine the direction using a digital compass. 

These are examples to help with testing, but in the end, the company intends to create a software development kit (SDK) that can be used by third-party studios and private developers.

We should dwell in more detail on the technical achievements of Mojo Vision in the latest prototype. The company just talked about them in their blog

Mojo engineers are developing new technologies, from display and optical systems for projecting augmented reality content to a low-latency communication protocol for efficient data streaming. An essential part of the work is the successful integration of all solutions into a miniature functional system with new production and quality management processes. 

The 14,000 ppi MicroLED display has a diameter of less than 0.5 millimeters and a pixel pitch of 1.8 microns. The company calls it the world’s smallest and densest display ever built for dynamic content. Combined with Mojo-designed micro-optics and a special silicon chip, the display can project bright text and even high-definition video onto the retina. Content is visible on the street and with closed eyelids.

Mojo’s data communications ASIC supports 5GHz radio frequency and an ARM Core M0 processor that processes sensor data and streams augmented reality content to the display. The radio is able to communicate at the ultra-low latency needed for augmented reality applications using Mojo’s proprietary communication protocol, which is said to be more efficient and faster than Bluetooth LE.

A key element of any augmented reality experience is the ability to interact with digital content hosted in the surrounding world. Mojo Lens includes a specially tuned accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer that continuously track eye movements so that augmented reality images stay still. Combined with patented oculography algorithms, the eye tracking in the lens is an order of magnitude more accurate than today’s leading optical eye tracking systems for augmented or virtual reality, according to the company

The proprietary power system includes “medical grade” microbatteries, a Mojo-designed power management IC, and wireless charging components. In the final product, the batteries should keep the device running throughout the day. Safety over time can be confirmed by clinical trials of the US Food and Drug Administration . Without this, the novelty simply will not be allowed on the market.

The controller of the lens interface is the eyes. Management and interaction with content is provided by the oculography system. 

To date, Mojo Vision has raised over $205 million from investors such as 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. 

Perhaps this extensive list, the height of the declared technological bar and big money together can resemble the picture of the early Magic Leap, which almost vanished into thin air, not fulfilling its own promises. But ML has come out of the crisis, and Mojo has not yet entered it. If the company overcomes the difficulties on the way to the product, it will really be a breakthrough.