Mojo positions smart contact lens as medical device for visually impaired

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Mojo Vision has finally revealed the secret ingredient of its invisible computing project—a smart contact lens initially being developed for the visually impaired.

Quick read

➨ The Mojo Lens utilises AR through microelectronics and a dense microdisplay, along with smart software to understand the user’s context

➨ The US startup has received the breakthrough device designation from the Food and Drug Administration for the development of the smart contact lens

➨ It has also formed a partnership with Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The story

The Mojo Lens, which utilises AR through microelectronics and a dense microdisplay, along with smart software to understand the user’s context, is initially being brought to market as a medical device.

The US startup has received the breakthrough device designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the development of the smart contact lens, which it will pursue through a new partnership with Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a California-based non-profit that offers rehabilitation services to more than 3,000 children and adults with blindness or impaired vision each year.

Mojo has been engaged in research and development for the smart contact lens since 2015. It has so far raised more than $100 million in funding, and revealed a key building block for its invisible computing project last year in the form of the 14K PPI Display.

Mojo is planning an early application of the smart contact lens to help people struggling with low vision by using enhanced image overlays.

These overlays provide real-time contrast and lighting enhancements, as well as zoom functionality, according to Mojo.

With its “inconspicuous” contact lens form factor, the Mojo Lens is designed to serve as a low vision aid that could remain discreet for the wearer and allow a hands-free experience, while delivering enhanced functional vision to assist in mobility, reading and sighting.

The FDA breakthrough device programme will provide Mojo with priority review and interactive communication on device development and clinical trial protocols, through to commercialisation. The Mojo Lens is currently in the research and development phase and is not available for sale anywhere in the world.

Drew Perkins, chief executive officer of Mojo, described the breakthrough device designation as “a significant step” in the startup’s research and development process.

He said: “We look forward to continuing our work with the FDA to ensure our solution is safe and effective, and that we can bring the Mojo Lens to market and assist people with vision impairment. This designation continues our work towards developing a product that can truly impact people’s lives in a positive way.”

Through their partnership, Vista Center’s clients will provide input to Mojo’s team of scientists and engineers, helping them define the features and capabilities of its technology.

The Mojo Lens will be designed to increase contrast, highlight edges, magnify objects such as text, and zoom-out to spot check surroundings, helping people with low vision navigate the world and increase their social independence.

“Through our partnership with Mojo Vision, we have a unique opportunity to help revolutionise the way those with impaired vision are able to see the world,” explained Karae Lisle, executive director of Vista Center. “Our clients will be at the forefront of this effort, playing direct, hands-on roles in the design of Mojo’s technology. Together through our efforts, we hope to change the future of vision-loss rehabilitation, improve the quality of life for our clients, and pave the way for others.”

Image credit: Mojo Vision