Smart contact lenses bring ‘invisible computing’ into the eye of the beholderJuly 6, 2022 | By Anthony Venutolo
Smart glasses without the glasses
With smart glasses like Google’s recently-announced AR specs, Snap’s Spectacles and Ray-Ban Stories snagging the wearable headlines of late, it was only a matter of time before someone upped the ante.
CNET reports that Mojo Vision, a California-based company that developed smart contact lenses that put micro-LEDs and AR graphics on the eye of the user, is now doing in-eye testing of its device. In a company blog post on June 28, CEO Drew Perkins said he was the first to conduct an on-eye demo of an augmented reality smart contact lens.
Back in March, Mojo Vision’s CTO and co-founder Mike Wiemer said the Mojo Lens prototype accelerates the development of so-called “invisible computing,” an emerging field where data is available and presented to users only when needed.
In addition, a short-range proprietary wireless radio, a tiny ARM CPU, and motion tracking in the form of an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer are also built into the lenses.
So how exactly could one use the contacts? “We hope to see Mojo Lens change the lives of individuals with vision impairment by improving their ability to perform daily tasks that many of us take for granted,” Perkins wrote in his blog. He also said that he envisions athletes using the lens stay focused, train harder and to reach peak performance.
After testing the prototype for about an hour, Perkins told CNET, "We've now taken that first step. And it's very exciting.” And while there is no release date set yet, Perkins said that the company now has a testing platform that they can refine and bring to the FDA for approval.
Mojo Vision and other AR devices could give us all our own real world J.A.R.V.I.S., the user interface AI that helped Tony Stark conquer his enemies in the Marvel Universe. Here in the real world, though, we’re not battling the likes of Thanos but at least we’ll know instantly when our rideshare is arriving.
Stealing Tesla’s crown
And with the Korean automaker unveiling the bold 2024 Ioniq 6 last week, his praise will undoubtably continue. While many EVs are aesthetically stunning, they aren’t typically inexpensive and value-packed. Enter Hyundai, which could change that calculus and, in the process, bring EVs even more into the mainstream.
Stretch out an Audi TT roadster like silly putty, make it into a sedan and, viola – you have the Hyundai Ioniq 6. This sleek design statement comes courtesy of chief designer SangYup Lee, who’s had his hand in designing everything from the Camaro to the Bentley Bentayga to the Hyundai Palisade and Genesis Speedium Coupe. And while the details of the engine are scant, drivers can expect a powertrain similar to the Ioniq 5.
Hyundai (with sister brand Kia) has made its bones on offering buyers every feature imaginable at the lowest price possible so it’s understandable why the greater EV industry could be a tad nervous. As the Tesla Model 3 holds firm as the world’s top-selling plug-in passenger car for three years running, that very well may change once this spiffy Hyundai hits the asphalt.
A different kind of farm aid
How can tech address the issues of sustainability, farming efficiencies and post-pandemic labor shortages in one fell swoop? Monarch Tractor thinks it has the answer.
CNET reported in early June that the company’s new $50,000 electric tractor is both driverless and a data powerhouse.
"The tractor sits at the center of almost every operation on the farm," Monarch Tractor CEO Praveen Penmetsa told CNET. "That makes it the logical platform to collect data." It’s sensing suite analyzes and collects crop data for each day it’s on the field. In addition, farmers can also receive tractor and weather alerts and use the data for more-efficient planning.
With traditional tractors polluting the air with 14 times the emissions of an automobile, the Monarch has zero tailpipe emissions since it runs solely on electricity. And with labor shortages a real concern post-pandemic, autonomous hardware and software technology allows for pre-programmed tasks without a driver.
Sure, that’s impressive, but now we’re just envisioning a world where robotics company Boston Dynamics will develop a robot that can feed the chickens and milk the cows.