Confidence is rising that easy, effortless access to AR content is coming
➨ Mojo Vision is developing an AR-powered contact lens
➨ While that work continues, the startup is exploring potential use cases, including sports and fitness
➨ It has also raised an additional $45 million of funding
A smart contact lens capable of rendering virtual environments in beautiful detail is one possible path toward realising the next-generation computing platform, but we are not there yet.
Startup Mojo Vision is working on such a device, claiming to be able to overlay images, symbols and text on users’ natural field of vision without obstructing their view, restricting mobility or hindering social interactions, all on a smart contact lens.
As work continues on developing Mojo Lens after raising more than $51 million of funding and securing breakthrough device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration last year, Mojo is exploring potential use cases for this hardware beyond the initial plan to help people struggling with vision impairment.
Sports and fitness are Mojo’s next big focuses, the startup has revealed, alongside news that it has raised an additional $45 million in its series B-1 investment round from Amazon Alexa Fund, PTC, Edge Investments, HiJoJo Partners, and other investors, taking its total funding to date to $205 million.
Mojo has partnered with Adidas Running (running/training), Trailforks (cycling, hiking/outdoors), Wearable X (yoga), Slopes (snow sports) and 18Birdies (golf), to explore the potential of smart contact lenses in improving access to data and enhancing athletes’ performance during sporting activities.
These strategic partners will help Mojo to understand and improve the delivery of data for athletes of varying skill levels and abilities with a view to developing additional interfaces and experiences.
The partnerships follow an extensive market research campaign at Mojo that identified demand for sports and fitness-focused wearable devices that better deliver data to athletes.
Its survey of more than 1,300 athletes found that 74% usually or always use a wearable to track performance data during their workout or activity, but there is appetite for better access to real-time performance data, with 83% of respondents saying they would benefit.
David Hobbs, senior director of product management of Mojo, makes clear the startup’s aim is to provide sports and fitness wearables that do not distract athletes from the focus of their activity: “We think there’s a better way to deliver athletic performance data.”
Hobbs continues: “Wearable innovation in existing form factors is starting to reach its limits. At Mojo, we’re interested in better understanding what’s still missing and how we can make that information accessible without disrupting someone’s focus and flow during training—when it matters most.”
Focusing on sports and fitness is a natural next step on the path toward a smart contact lens fit for the metaverse. Both are becoming increasingly reliant on data and a newer, better delivery method is clearly warranted.
Mojo is careful in its approach, sidestepping much of the hype that immersive technologies can generate, focusing instead on areas of greatest need without revealing too much detail about its technology and so avoiding early disappointment.
With the backing of investors to the tune of more than $200 million, confidence is rising that the path toward smart contact lenses providing easy, effortless access to augmented reality content anywhere will not be a long one.
Images: Mojo Vision