You’ve probably heard of Google Glass, the tech giant’s answer to the next great personal data device, but could you imagine contact lenses that replace your smartphone? Tech startup Innovega is developing eyewear based platforms that could put your iPhone inside your iris. Innovega made a bold prediction at the 2013 International CES, a global consumer electronics and consumer tech tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada. They announced the development of smart contact lenses designed to work seamlessly with their patented iOptikTM display system for viewing social and personal media. Innovega followed up last year’s announcement with the debut of a wearable prototype at the 2014 tradeshow in early January.
Unlike Google Glass, the Innovega eyewear system consists of two parts. A pair of contact lenses give the wearer specially enhanced focusing abilities, allowing users to see with clarity at points both near and far beyond what the normal eye can see. Innovega’s smart contact lenses would allow a user to see fine details in an object held very close to the eye, such as threads in a fabric or minute wrinkles in skin. When paired with the Innovega glasses, which contain flat panels or micro projectors that can show apps and media, the contact lenses produce an enhanced Google Glass type of interactive media experience. An iOptik spokesperson spoke with Mashable, a tech blog, on the variances and advantages of Innovega’s two-part system as opposed to Google’s self contained glasses. “Google Glass is the equivalent of having your smartphone about 24 inches in front of you. The iOptik system is six times the resolution and 20 times the area. It’s like looking at a big TV projection.” The Daily Mail reported that Innovega’s system provides an experience “equivalent to watching a 240-inch television at a distance of 10 feet.”
Innovega’s iOptik system shows promise as an enhancement for head-mounted displays like Google Glass. Combining contact lenses with full HD glasses may allow the headpiece to be smaller and sleeker, a big plus for a consumer product. A demo video available for viewing online shows possible uses for the system that build on technology that is already available. Imagine being able to project a GPS system onto roads while driving or scanning a city line and easily identifying possible restaurants or tourist attractions. Innovega does not intend to market the technology themselves, rather they plan to sell the iOptik system once a leader in wearable smart technology emerges,
Even Google Glass has not moved past its beta “Explorer Program,” so it will be a while before these types of smart vision devices are released to the public. Because Innovega’s iOptik system includes contact lenses, something you physically insert onto your body, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must add its stamp of approval before these devices may be released into the market. Innovega plans to submit to the FDA in late 2014 or early 2015 for approval. As skilled care professionals at Athens Eye Care, we are excited to see new technology emerging in the industry, and we are encouraged by the utmost concern for safety before releasing these products into the market.
Remember, you can order your favorite contact lenses at Athens Eye Care!