Augmented Reality has and will continue to take the world into a new realm of interaction with digital media.
Our smart phones today are capable of supporting AR and many of tech companies are working to perfect AR glasses. These are also known as wearables There is one company out in the world that’s taking a few steps ahead of the rest of the pack and looking to make Augmented Reality Contact Lenses a real thing. The company behind such a bold endeavor is Silicon Valley based Mojo Vision, lead by Steve Sinclair, the senior vice president of product and marketing.
Mojo Vision aims to be the next big thing in the coming years
Mojo Vision, as you might have already assumed, makes contact lenses capable of supporting Augmented Reality functions. Or, rather, it will make augmented reality contact lenses when everything is ready to go. They're still developing the technology and raising the necessary funds to do so. In early May, it was announced that Mojo Vision had raised an extra $51 million to build its AR Contacts, named the Mojo Lens.
This is on top of the (at least) $108 million it has already raised, bringing its total cash haul to nearly $160 million. “When we’re pitching this to an investor, they know a little bit about what you’re going to show them because they wouldn’t take the meeting without having some of that info,” Sinclair told Digital Trends. “But when you hand them a lens, which we put on the end of a little stick [for the demo], and they bring it up and we light it so they can see contents in the lens close up to their eye, that’s when their jaws usually drop. People are just kind of blown away. It’s like, ‘I saw you say you could do it, the [presentation] slide says you can do it. But now I’m looking at it — and it works.’”
Sinclair went on further to explain more about the product, saying “Mojo Lens is a smart contact lens with a built-in display that gives you timely information without interrupting your focus. It’s all about elevating your vision by providing information exactly when you need it, all the while letting you look like yourself.” This last piece is one of the biggest reasons why people are going bananas for the Mojo Lens’ vision of augmented reality (AR), which seeks to expand our perception of the physical world by adding layers of digital information on top of it.
Mojo Vision is having to invent everything from its own oxygenation system (eyes need to breathe just like lungs do) to customize chips to eye-tracking algorithms. “We’re trying to innovate in six or seven different, specific areas,” Sinclair said. “Pull all this together and it’s a very complex system … very audacious.” The idea is that Mojo Lens could be controlled in several different ways. One would be via voice, by using some kind of “relay accessory” worn by the user. This hasn’t yet been finalized, but Sinclair suggested it could be a hat, a helmet, a necklace, or anything else worn close to the head. This relay accessory would talk to both your contact lenses and your phone, and could carry out much of the computational firepower needed to pull up whatever data you require.
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The other part is eye-tracking technology. The goal with this is to figure out exactly where you’re looking, and what contextual information you are likely to want to see at that moment, without spamming your vision like pop-ups on the world’s most annoying website. “We are building what we are pretty confident is going to be the best eye tracking in the world because we’re building all the motion sensors for tracking your eyes on the lens itself,” Sinclair said. “We’re not a camera, looking at the eye and trying to figure out where it’s going. We’re on the eye and we know exactly where it’s moving. That gives us a huge advantage as far as control is concerned.”
The world is populated with tech industries doing everything they can to not miss the impending gold mine that awaits the first ones to strike it hot in the AR market. Google Glass was an early attempt to capitalize on AR. Apple, for its part, has ARKit and scores of patents for its own head-up display. Microsoft has it’s own with HoloLens. Then there’s Snapchat’s Spectacles, Magic Leap (which has received a big injection of Google money), and so on. Despite this Augmented Reality craze that’s sweeping the tech world, no one has yet to nailed the perfect factor for AR. It’s all kinds of stupid to walk through the world holding up our smartphone in front of our faces to see augmented layers of information. And while plenty of companies are building AR glasses, none has yet delivered a device so compelling that it signals the way to the future. Long story short, no one has yet built the Samsung Galaxy of AR.
When the Mojo Lens is ready to be released, the initial roll out will focus on helping people with visual impairments, followed by more enterprise-specific demonstrations such as helping first responders. Only after these two groups have shown their support will Mojo Vision, the rest of the masses will be able to get their hands, or eyeballs, on their very own pair.
Another world that could heavily benefit from the Mojo Lens, and Augmented Reality in general, is the video game world. There are games today that use AR such as Pokemon GO, Temple Treasure Hunt, Army of Robots and more, however many if not all developers could elevate their development game with Mojo Lens.
Think about it; games like Yu-Gi-Oh! coming out of your eyes. You could literally walk up to someone with your AR lens and say the age old line “Its Time To DUEL!!” and it would be just like watching the anime. You could even have a spectator lobby for others with their AR lenses watching the duel in real time, even stream it on twitch. Other games like Call of Duty, Magic The Gathering, Mario Kart would take game night with the homies to unforeseen heights and memorable moments. Even simple games like chess, monopoly, bowling, golf, even Where's Waldo would be excellent in AR. Yes, Where's Waldo… in Augmented Reality. This will be great for game development and game design, especially those using Unity 3D game engine. We are pretty sure Unity 3D will be involved in helping make it possible to use this new tech to make a wide range of games and apps.
Currently, there is no launch date for the Mojo Lens, but Sinclair says, “it’s not something that’s 10 or 20 years away.” So maybe we'll be seeing the Mojo Lens a lot sooner than we might have thought.
Written By Tech Blogger Joshua Lowe