iOptik lenses open multiple windows to augmented reality


Augmented reality being the buzz since Google Glass, Innovega’s new iOptik system, which is being featured at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014, has gone a step further with their iOptik system that uses contact lenses, glasses and mini projectors to display more content at once.

The iOptik system, first displayed as a prototype at CES 2013 has this time made a very convincing exhibit with staff walking around wearing a working wearable, which can display multiple images at once, unlike Google Glass. Innovega’s iOptik system is funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), so it can be put to use in the battlefield—soldiers would, say, be able to access and view strategic maps from a distant server or images from an overhead drone, in real time.

The special contact filters light on to the retina in such a manner as to enable seeing things that are both a distance and those that are close to the eye, while the glasses (don’t worry, they are not bulky) fitted with microprocessors, transmit the data to its lenses. And it simply runs whatever runs on your smartphone. Currently iOptik is compatible with the Android operating system.

“Whatever runs on your smartphone would run on your eyewear,” Innovega CEO Stephen Willey said in an interview with CNET. “At full HD. Whether it’s a window or immersive,” a report on Fox News said.

An example image shows a street scene with five projected windows, including Facebook messages, photos, a Wikipedia page, driving directions, and more, as reported on the news website.What Innovega plans to do is not sell iOptik on their own platform but license it out to other companies that can customise it—with cameras, touch control, audio devices, accelerometers (used in tablets and digital cameras to display the images in an upright position)—and brand it and use their own heads up displays (HUDs).

iOptik’s lenses have been submitted to the US Federal Drug Administration for approval, which they expect to get soon, as contact lenses are a commonly used commodity. So it will be a short wait before they retail. I can’t wait to get my hands on one. What about you?


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