Published on December 14th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Mojo Vision Teams Up with Optics Leader Menicon to Develop AR Contact Lenses
Emergent Enterprise has posted on augmented reality contact lenses twice in 2020 both here and here and now it appears the tech is going a step further. Dean Takahashi is reporting at VentureBeat that Mojo Vision is partnering with Menicon of Japan to develop a wearable and hopefully comfortable and useful prototype. On the surface, an AR contact lens seems provocative and futuristic. But how can the device display augmented reality images without being too distractive and also have the same comfort level of a regular contact lens? That will be key to the user experience – not just the stated features and functionality of the device but also that all that tech fits on top of a human eyeball. People will tolerate some inconvenience if the usefulness is significant but that will remain to be, well, seen.
Image Credit: Mojo Vision
Mojo Vision has developed prototypes for contact lenses that enable people to see augmented reality images as overlays on the real world. And now it has teamed up with Menicon, Japan’s largest and oldest maker of contact lenses, to further develop the product.
Saratoga, California-based Mojo Vision has developed a smart contact lens with a tiny built-in display that lets you view augmented reality images on a screen sitting right on your eyeballs. It’s a pretty amazing innovation, but the company has to make sure that it works with contact lenses as they have been built for decades. The partnership with Menicon will help the company do that, Mojo Vision chief technology officer Mike Wiemer said in an interview with VentureBeat.
“It’s a development agreement, and it could turn into a commercial agreement,” Wiemer said. “I’m very excited to work with them.”
Under the joint-development agreement, the two companies will work on various feasibility studies on production and manufacturing, exploring a potential long-term working relationship as Mojo tries to commercialize the technology.
Mojo Vision is developing Mojo Lens, which it calls the first true smart contact lens. Nagoya, Japan-based Menicon claims to be the only company in the world dedicated to all areas of contact lens-related business, including material development, lens designing, rigid gas permeable lens technology, manufacturing of lenses, and care solutions.
Areas of collaboration will center around contact lens materials, cleaning, and fitting, among other topics. Menicon, led by president Hidenari Tanaka, has been making contact lenses for 70 years, and it has more than 1,400 employees. Wiemer said that Menicon has volumes of research on things such as coatings for contact lenses and how devices interact with the human body.
“These are the challenges for us,” Wiemer said. “We have to get our teams to work together.”
Mojo Lens overlays monochrome images, symbols, and text on users’ natural fields of vision without obstructing their view, restricting mobility, or hindering social interactions.
Mojo is actively working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its Breakthrough Devices Program, a voluntary program designed to provide safe and timely access to medical devices that can help treat irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions.