Is the future of wearable tech 'smart' contact lenses?
Innovega's iOptik system is shown in this handout image. (Provided/Timothy Hogan/Innovega)
Published Sunday, January 5, 2014 9:37AM EST
Can the future of wearable technology be found in one small pair of contact lenses?
There are many complaints about Google Glass, but one of the biggest from its small band of users is that the device makes them look silly. But how about if the technology could be shrunk down into a contact lens?
That's one element of Innovega's iOptik, but its augmented reality system still needs a set of glasses to work -- although thankfully, they look like normal eye glasses, rather than something from a low budget sci-fi film.
In order to use existing smart headsets, users have to constantly change their focus, looking up and to the right, or into the middle distance to see a floating screen while also trying to keep an eye on where they're going.
With iOptik, light is beamed from the glasses on to the contact lenses and they turn that light into overlaid text, images or other information in a way that doesn't force the wearer into dividing his or her focus or attention. In other words, like a true heads-up display in a top of the range car or a fighter jet.
At last year's International CES, Innovega demonstrated a rough-and-ready prototype on a mannequin, but at this year's show, the company will be demonstating a version ready for consumer use. And as such it could be one of the stars of the show.
To whet appetites, the company has posted a teaser video:
Innovega hopes that the finished version of iOptik complete with regulatory approval will be on sale within the next two years.