Smart contact lenses
A Silicon Valley start-up is developing augmented reality contact lenses that will give users real-time information from the web.

Mojo Vision which was founded in 2015 and has since raised more than $100m has developed the lenses that look like their traditional counterparts, but are packed with technology, including a micro-LED screen, a microprocessor, wireless communication and a variety of sensors. They are operated by eye movements, where users glance at functions on a “home screen” in order to select them. The company envisions a huge range of future use cases, including the provision of subtitles for conversations in foreign languages, fitness statistics for runners or real time price comparisons for goods and services.

Steve Sinclair, Mojo’s head of product and marketing said: “It makes you smarter in the moment. It augments your memory. Or let’s say you have to give a speech: the transcript is right in front of you. Being connected to the internet means having access to any kind of service, including connecting to smart assistance to give voice commands too.” The lenses will give customers the ability to create their own omnichannel experience.

The key is easy operation. The home screen — a green ring full of functions — is activated by glancing sideways, while options can be selected by looking at them. Holding a stare for a few milliseconds is the equivalent of a double-click, and another side glance dismisses the information.

The lenses do not currently have a camera and cannot record anything, but they are equipped with an image sensor that looks outward. With more development, Mojo said the sensor could recognise faces so it could pull up information about people and aid in conversation. Obviously privacy concerns will come into play here.

A timeline for launch has yet to be announced however, the lenses have already been tested by optometrists and the results have been positive so it seems that they aren’t too far in the distant future. It is likely however, that consumer adoption will be slow since the price will presumably be high and it is an entirely new category. Marketers will therefore have time to consider whether to devote budget to testing how they can be integrated into the marketing mix. Already voice search and image search are meaning new and innovative ways for marketers to connect with their customers and prospects, yet if these do not go the same way as Google Glass then sight search will inevitably also become a priority for brands to understand.

The 2020s are already being hailed as the data era and new technologies such as these lenses will add new, rich and varied information to the datascape meaning again there will opportunities for marketers through insight and analytics to drive even closer and more relevant relationships with customers.

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Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.