In Vegas last month, MojoVision presented their latest technology. A demo of their microscopic screen that shows image and text, and will eventually be put on a contact lens.
For fans of Black Mirror, this idea might seem familiar if a little scary. (Remember the Entire History of You episode?) Users will be able to control the text and images they see through this contact lens by glancing in various directions.
The device uses immersive technology: this is a technology that ranges from augmented reality, where digital information is overlaid on to real world information, to virtual reality.
Early enthusiasts are excited. Imagine the possibilities… Presidential candidates being given live information during debates through a contact lens; more efficient conversations, where we are shown important details about the person we are talking to.
Here at Babylon, we are really excited about the dramatic improvements these lenses could make to people’s healthcare.
A contact lens that could measure your pulse, or temperature, through capillaries in your eyes. One that could measure your blood sugar, and then give you real time updates or warnings if you need to adjust your behaviour or call an ambulance.
A smart contact lens could help those with visual impairment. MojoVision’s technology has demonstrated the ability to sense the outside world with a “vision augmentation” mode that highlights the edges of objects in a dark room. This could change the lives of millions of people suffering from macular degeneration, a common condition that affects people as they get older and makes day-to-day activities such as reading and recognising faces difficult.
This technology could also benefit people with conditions like autism, helping them to read or decipher other people’s emotions through facial recognition. It could also help those with early stages of cognitive impairment, such as dementia, by providing memory joggers when they see people or objects.
It could also transform the performance of medical professionals, like surgeons, who could get real time updates and advice as they operate.
Mojo Vision has made it clear that there are lots of challenges. For a start, putting a computer on your eyeball is understandably tricky, with significant hurdles to leap. No-one knows what the long-term effects of a screen so close to your eye will be, let alone one that is wirelessly powered. The lens will have to deal with the rapid changes in eye position that happen in normal gaze-fixation. And then there’s the challenge of handling always-on, pervasive data, and understanding how it might affect behaviour.
You may have heard already, but here at Babylon we are all about putting accessible, affordable healthcare in the hands of everyone on Earth. But imagine putting it on your eyeball too? Immersive technology, invisible computing and advanced user interfaces will enable us to have greater access to healthcare, not just at the push of a button but at the flick of an eye.