Will Contact Lenses Soon Be Used for VR?

With more people using virtual reality (VR) regularly, it’s become more than just a concept of the future. A study by researchers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn highlighted that more people are developing an interest in VR technology and are optimistic about the changes it can bring to their everyday lives. These people include students, who become interested and engaged when learning through VR technologies, and adults, who use it for gaming, exercise, and other forms of entertainment.

For now, people can only enter these virtual realities by wearing bulky headsets or projecting virtual environments. However, with the development of contact lenses with integrated technologies, there could be new possibilities for VR on the horizon.

Will Contact Lenses Soon Be Used for VR?

Current Developments in Contact Lenses Technologies

Mojo Vision is the first company to announce its plans to create innovative contact lenses. The company showed an early prototype of its augmented reality (AR) contact lenses in Las Vegas back in 2020. Since then, Mojo Vision’s AR contact lenses have been integrated with a heads-up display technology that overlays information onto the lens. The system currently has a 0.5-millimeter microLED display, in which the text overlays are highlighted through micro-optics. The AR contact lenses then transfer the data back and forth through a 5GHz band, allowing wearers to generate information into the lenses quickly.

Meanwhile, InWith plans to create contact lenses that people can use for ophthalmic solutions and AR technology. Traditionally, contact lenses have ophthalmic technologies to correct vision problems caused by refractive errors, like myopia and presbyopia. For example, the FDA-approved Air Optix Colors contact lenses can correct astigmatism, myopia, and other eye conditions through daily or extended wear. These contact lenses also offer cosmetic benefits, as they can improve the appearance of one’s eyes while also correcting vision. InWith’s smart contact lenses feature some of these traditional features and can improve the vision of people with presbyopia or myopia. InWith’s smart contact lenses are also currently the only smart contact lenses made of soft hydrogel material, which is more comfortable for extended wear. On top of that, the company has integrated solid circuits and components into hydrogels, allowing the contact lenses to overlay visual information.

Are Contact Lenses The Future Of VR Technology?

Many companies are already developing AR contact lenses. However, people may have to wait a bit longer for the development of VR contact lenses. Even Apple plans to focus more on AR contact lenses rather than the VR variation because CEO Tim Cook believes AR is the next big thing. The tech company plans to release its version of AR contact lenses between 2030-2040. However, Apple will also release a helmet product that can provide AR and VR experiences in the next few years, so there’s hope that they may develop other technologies that can handle both AR and VR.

Smart contact lenses are also relatively new. Understandably, companies want to focus on AR for now because the technology is less immersive and complex than VR. AR will be easier to simulate on contact lenses because wearers can still view their physical environment while looking at the contacts’ LED display. On the other hand, users need headsets to enter fully computer-generated environments in VR. Thus, developers will need to create more advanced technologies to simulate virtual realities through contact lenses.

However, there’s hope that contact lenses could become the future of VR technology. Developers are already laying down the groundwork through AR contact lenses. After AR contact lenses have been perfected for use, it will be easier for companies to figure out which hardware and software programs will be necessary for contact lenses that create entirely virtual experiences.

At present, companies have only leveraged contact lenses for AR. Once this technology is well-developed, one can expect that tech companies will soon integrate VR into contact lenses as well.