Smart Contact Lense InWith: First version ready for this year
Inwith plans to get medical clearance for a tech contact lens this year and launch an initial version.
California-based Inwith first made a public appearance in 2020, showcasing its technology at CES 2021: a commercially available soft contact lens with electrical circuitry. According to Inwith, this feat is achieved through flexible microelectronics that can expand and contract while the lens is being manufactured.
The unique feature is that Inwith can integrate the mini-circuits into soft contact lenses. Mojo Vision’s competition relies on hard lenses, but offers an integrated display as standard equipment.
Inwith says it is the only company that has publicly demonstrated it can integrate circuitry into advanced soft contact lenses. The company claims to hold “several hundred” patents for this process, its actual product.
“Contact lens platform for the masses”
Now, as part of CES 2022, Inwith says it aims to receive “breakthrough” approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this year. “Shortly thereafter” the contact lens is then expected to hit the market. Mojo Vision also has an ongoing application in the FDA’s Breakthrough program.
According to company founder Michael Hayes, the Inwith lens will be able to superimpose information from a connected device such as a smartphone directly into the field of view, such as a speed limit or arrows for navigation. The company calls this “augmented vision”.
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“Tunable vision”, improving one’s own vision, is intended to help people with eye diseases such as nearsightedness or presbyopia (myopia / presbyopia). The lens is supposed to be able to be adjusted in real-time for near or far vision so that you no longer have to put on different glasses or spectacles with different lenses.
Tech contact lens: many unanswered questions
At CES 2022, as at CES 2021, Inwith demonstrated technology that allows manufacturers to integrate “augmented vision display chip applications” into soft hydrogel contact lenses. The price of such tech lenses could be about double that of conventional lenses, Hayes estimates. He suspects a market size of several million daily wearers.
So far, however, there has been no demonstration of an Inwith lens with an integrated display. There are still many open questions here, such as the exact function, wearing comfort, or resolution.
Inwith says it is working with leading Fortune 50 companies to bring the first iterations of the tech lens to market before the end of 2022. The company announced a partnership with Bausch & Lomb, one of the world’s largest contact lens manufacturers, back in 2020. Bausch & Lomb is no longer mentioned in the current press material.
The press texts and images for CES 2022 are largely identical to those for CES 2021, but expanded to include the buzzword Metaverse: Inwith refers to future versions of the Lens as “the ultimate Metaverse wearable.” What’s new, in particular, is the statement that a first Lens should be released this year.