CES 2014: Innovega’s Smart Contact Lenses Will ‘Give You Superhuman Vision’

A U.S.-based company has developed new smart contact lenses that give people wearing them ‘superhuman’ vision, and ability to see fine details not visible to the natural eye.

The first version of Innovega’s glasses are designed for military use, but it’s planning a consumer version by 2014 or 2015. Photo: Innovega.

Washington-based startup Innovega is coming up with a natural eyewear-based platform – called iOptik – that promises to take the concept of wearable technology to the next level. The company demonstrated the new technology at the ongoing CES 2014 tradeshow.

The Innovega eyewear system is made up of two parts: glasses and contact lenses. The contact lenses give you enhanced focusing abilities, so you can see near and far at levels beyond what the normal eye can see. The eye lenses are integrated with a pair of special glasses fitted with tiny projectors that reroutes data forward onto the eyeglass lenses. These lenses of the glasses are transparent, so the wearer’s view of their surroundings is not obstructed.

“Whatever runs on your smartphone would run on your eyewear,” said Stephen Willey, Innovega CEO. This platform provides users a sort of virtual canvas on which any kind of media or an application can be viewed.

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. However, this new technology differs, allowing users to focus on objects right in front of their eyes and in the distance simultaneously, offering an alternative solution to traditional near-eye displays which create the illusion of an object in the distance so as not to hinder regular vision.

“Our optics deliver games that are truly ‘immersive’, movies that mimic IMAX performance, a multi-tasking dashboard that incorporates five or more typical screens – all while simultaneously providing the wearer a safe and clear view of their environment,” added Willey.

“It also supports most any screen or projection design as evidenced by demonstrations at our booth of fully transparent, panoramic, HD, micro-projector eyewear, as well as a glance-able, megapixel, flat-panel solution,” the release added.

Smart eyewear such as Google Glass would look more like goggles if the near- and far-vision technology were placed within the device, according to the spokesperson. By pairing the contacts with the iOptik glasses, it still looks like you’re wearing regular glasses. You also have the option of filling the contact lenses with a prescription, reports Mashable.

“Innovega was founded to solve a problem that has continued to frustrate consumers: The quality and quantity of digital media available from mobile devices exceeds the capability of conventional, tiny mobile displays,” Wiley said.

“The display industry has attempted to respond to the small mobile screen bottleneck in their design of either light-weight, head-worn ‘glance-able’ infotainment displays that in keeping with their size, fail to deliver a compelling media experience, or by designs that do deliver performance but fail to meet consumer demand for comfort, convenience and style.”

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.

The iOptik system is one of many wearable devices that have been on display at CES, ranging from smart socks to a GPS jacket, and wearable technology is expected to be one of the major trends of 2014, says the Telegraph.

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