CES: Hands on with iOptik, the smart contact lenses

iOptik at CES

Innovega’s Optik system received lots of recent trade press for their special contact lenses that will read the light from projectors fitted to glasses. They were one of my first stops at the CES show this year.

According to Innovega: The key feature of the iOptik display is the enhancement of the wearer’s vision by giving the ability to focus on media that is placed very near to the eye without affecting normal vision. This vision enhancement allows the wearer to view near-eye microdisplays as easily as viewing real objects at normal distances. This vision enhancement eliminates the need to mount large optics into the video eyewear. Removing these optics allows for compact and stylish eyewear products. It is this architecture’s ability to deliver very large and rich HD/3D digital content without disturbing one’s normal vision and from a compact and stylish format visionthat distinguishes the iOptik from all other wearable displays. The stylish iOptik™ form-factor is distinguished from all other display architectures.

iOpik glasses at CES

Except the exhibitors weren’t actually giving human demos at CES, so I had to settle for holding the contact in my hand inside a small glass vial and fiddling with the clunky, plastic sunglass frames while the rep went into great detail about how they worked (see above paragraph, plus you could actually see the hole in the middle of the lens where the eye would be allowed to see farther differences). Regardless of the hands-on demo opportunities, I spent about 10 minutes in the booth, and the crowd was thick the entire time.

It was surreal to hold a tiny contact in your hand and know it has the power to redefine communication, media and how we interact with brands and each other.

iOptik smart contact lenses

Early adopters, like Glass Explorers, are excited about smart lens technology — whether it’s glasses or contacts — but it’s evident there is a long way to go to turn the lens of your eye into something remotely like the display of your computer (or something better!).

Maybe by this time next year there will be real live humans wearing smart contact lenses. Maybe.

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