What is it
Tech devices have definitely improved our experience of vision. Some skills only feasible on sci-fi movies, like sharpness in long-range vision, see in the dark, calculating distances with precision, and associate stats about what is being seen are already possible with devices like VR glasses, for example. But a lens with a dot the size of a grain of sand promises to take this experience to another level.
Mojo Vision has designed lenses that fit on to the human eye and allow wearers to interface with the internet through invisible computing, without “interrupting your focus”. It can display statistics like health tracking and other data feeds using augmented reality. The lenses project light in front of the user’s eye — meaning it can still be seen when their eyes are shut.
Why it’s Cool
- It’s attractive because it aims to deliver information instantly, in real-time, hands-free, and completely imperceptibly to others. Furthermore, they could also be used in a variety of situations, from giving cyclists metrics on a steep incline up ahead to identifying star constellations as you gaze at the sky;
- They’re not just meant to give everyday people James Bond powers in their eyes; they’re really looking to assist people whose vision impairment could help them get better, or those with low vision conditions as macular degeneration, glaucoma, etc which is inspiring;
- It aims to place useful data and imagery over your world — and boost your natural vision — using tech that can barely be seen. The startup named the lenses “Mojo” because it wants to build something that’s like getting superpowers for your eyes. In the coming decade, it’s likely that our computing devices will become more personal and reside closer to — or even inside — our bodies. Our eyes are the logical next stop on the journey.
- The wearer has the potential of acting naturally. Lenses adapted to the body, not using a device, is less intrusive. A real concretization of the technology as the extension of our bodies.
Why it has Future Growth Potential
The Mojo Lens has been ten years in the making, with a working prototype released earlier this year. With demos showing the potential to see in the dark and navigate menus with your eyes, this kind of product appears to be aiming for the sweet spot between clunky AR goggles and invasive brain-computer interfaces like Neuralink. As Google and many big tech companies, Mojo claims more of “human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data,” which it will then use to create products for its real customers: advertisers and other companies.
Looking to the future, the next big step will be for the very concept of the “device” to fade away. Over time, the computer itself — whatever its form factor — will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile-first to an AI-first world. — Sundar Pichai, as current Google CEO, explained in his first letter to shareholders in 2016
As an invisible device that you can put out whenever you want or use it all day long, it’s potentially easier for people to “act naturally” as long they provide useful personal data to the tech manufacturers. And with more accurate data provided by augmenting reality, they can own and control behavioral data. On the other hand, it takes time to be highly adopted once the idea of having a device glued to your retina sounds intrusive and not safe.
To be tested in eyes, those contact lenses need to be approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration from the United States) and Mojo is still working on that. But according to Jesse Orrall, who had the chance to try out Mojo Vision’s prototype reported on the video below, the experience is “definitely felt like a preview into the future of wearable tech”.
SULLIVAN, Mark. The making of Mojo, AR contact lenses that give your eyes superpowers https://www.fastcompany.com/90441928/the-making-of-mojo-ar-contact-lenses-that-give-your-eyes-superpowers
STEIN, Scott. A single contact lens could give your entire life a head-up display https://www.cnet.com/health/a-single-contact-lens-could-give-your-entire-life-a-head-up-display/
NAUGHTON, John. ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook
EADICICCO, Lisa. Elon Musk says there’s a chance his AI-brain-chip company will be putting implants in humans within a year https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-neuralink-brain-chip-put-in-human-within-year-2020-5
CHANDLER, Simon. ‘Invisible Computing’ Contact Lens Is Surveillance Capitalism’s Holy Grail https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonchandler/2020/01/17/invisible-computing-contact-lens-is-surveillance-capitalisms-holy-grail/#6ee9486aa2c3