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Smart Contact Lens Technology Takes Giant Leap Toward Reality

Mojo Vision CEO becomes first person to wear fully functional prototype

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Smart Contact Lens Technology Takes Giant Leap Toward Reality
Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins wears the first fully functioning smart contact lens prototype. The Mojo Lens has been in development since 2015. (Courtesy | Mojo Vision)

It wasn’t too long ago that the concept of smart contact lenses was just that: a concept.

It was the stuff of James Bond movies. It was the cool tech of a Marvel character. It was the future technology of the someday.

Well, apparently, that someday is closer than we might have thought.

Mojo Vision announced in March it had developed a new prototype of its Mojo Lens, which it calls “the world’s first true smart contact lens.”

Recently, CEO Drew Perkins became the first person to wear the company’s first feature complete prototype.

“We put the Mojo Lens on my eye, tested it, and it worked,” said Perkins, in a video promoting the company’s latest milestone. “It was a historic moment.”

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Mojo Lens features a built-in display that “gives people the useful and timely information they want without forcing them to look down at a screen or losing focus on the people and the world around them,” according to a press release from the company from early 2020.

The lens features an array of technologies. An ARM processor, a short-range radio, and an eye tracking system, which includes a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and an accelerometer, work in concert to send augmented reality (AR) content to a MicroLED display. The lens is powered by medical-grade micro-batteries.

Smart Contact Lens Technology Takes Giant Leap Toward Reality

Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins, center, wears the first fully functioning smart contact lens prototype. “I’ve seen it. I’ve worn it. It works,” Perkins said. (Courtesy | Mojo Vision)

“We wore the first feature complete prototype of our Mojo Lens on eye,” said Steve Sinclair, senior vice president of product and marketing, in the video. “A lot has happened from a technology perspective, from an engineering and development perspective, and the clinical perspective to bring it all together into this one product.”

RELATED: This Contact Lens Puts a Screen Display Directly in Your Eye

Perkins wears the prototype for an hour or so during testing sessions. He’s also outfitted with a processor he wears around his neck and a hat with a built-in antenna. The accoutrements help relay information wirelessly to researchers. For now, the company is limiting its human testing to one lens in one eye at a time.

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Perkins wrote about the testing experience in a blog post made available to media:

“The final technical hurdle to wearing the lens was ensuring that the power and radio communications systems worked without wires. Cutting the cord proved that the lens and all major components are fully functional … After completing preclinical testing and mitigating potential safety risks, I wore Mojo Lens. Much to my delight, I found I could interact with a compass to find my bearings, view images, and use an on-screen teleprompter.”

Smart Contact Lens Technology Takes Giant Leap Toward Reality

Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins wore the Mojo Lens for the first time on June 23 at the company’s lab in Saratoga, CA. (Courtesy | Mojo Vision)

Next steps include testing two contacts in unison, which will provide opportunities to refine 3D imagery, and expanding trials beyond the company’s executives.

RELATED: Mojo Vision Raises $45M for Smart Contact Lens Tech

“We spent lots of time just validating and calibrating the radio,” Perkins said in a CNET article. “We’re not doing extended time testing yet. We’ll get there.”

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Perkins is positively bullish on the company’s progress so far and its timeline for the future.

“The ideals and principles we established for Mojo Vision in 2015 are coming to life, one milestone at a time,” Perkins wrote in his blog post. “Through our partnerships and collaboration with app developers, suppliers, and manufacturing partners, we are getting closer.

RELATED: The Contact Market is Exploding

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