Mojo Vision, a Silicon Valley startup developing augmented-reality contact lenses, announced today that it had raised an additional US $51 million to move forward with development. This brings total investment in the company to $159 million.
A Mojo spokesperson indicated that this cash infusion will fund development of better battery technology, improved software, and the manufacturing processes that will be needed when the devices go into mass production. Mojo plans to add a dozen or so engineers to its current staff of 86 by year’s end. Staff members are currently working at home, and because products have yet to come to market, the company reports that local shelter-in-place orders are having little effect on its efforts.
Mojo Vision’s first prototypes, which I saw in January, included a microdisplay, radio, image sensor, and motion sensor built into each contact lens. These were powered wirelessly from an external power pack, but ultimately the company aims to bring batteries on board. Mojo expects to unveil its next generation of prototypes later this year.
The first applications of Mojo’s AR contact will be image enhancement for people with low vision, including edge detection of objects and facial expressions. Future applications will include providing additional information, like facial tagging and real-time translation.
New Enterprise Associates led this latest funding round; other investors included Gradient Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Liberty Global, Struck Capital, Dolby Family Ventures, and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 30 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.