Apple’s iOS might be first to support an augmented reality contact lens system currently in development at EP Global Communications, as the two companies are reportedly scheduled to meet next week to discuss potential platform integrations.
According to a tweet posted to EPGL's official Twitter account late last month, the firm is slated to meet with Apple on Sept. 13 "to explore use of iOS for mobile in future augmented reality lenses." EPGL has not yet settled on a single mobile operating system to pair with its AR contact lens project, the company clarified in a statement to AppleInsider.
"We are having an introductory conversation with Apple about the iOS platform, being the chosen platform for our augmented lens development program," said Michael Hayes, president, EP Global Communications. "We anticipate that our augmented lenses will communicate with smart phone applications for display, so we must explore platforms that we can become compatible with. iOS is obviously one of the platforms we are keenly interested in."
EPGL's technologies revolve around the manufacturing and the integration of electronics into modern Silicone Hydrogel lenses. To that end, the company has filed the latest in a series of patents pending in the hot new field of smart contact lens technology. The latest filing is for an optic display mechanism within the contact lens which could lay a new foundation for augmented reality (AR) in the field of vision. Several of the company’s patents have potential to become industry standard if adopted.
"Our methods allow integration of flexible electronics into the contact lens during the manufacturing process without major changes to the current process. We also have solutions in the areas of autofocus and optics for augmented reality contact lenses," said David Markus, PhD. He added, "We intend this recently allowed patent to be the first of many coming in the future.”
What is the big deal about smart contact lens technology you ask? The vision revolution underway with such virtual reality entries as Oculus by Facebook and Hololens by Microsoft is just in its infancy, estimated at $150 billion. The market for augmented reality or "AR" is equally large. That is where contact lenses come in. The holy grail of the industry is to put AR into the smallest, most discrete wearable you can find. Many industry leading CEO's estimate that most of what you can do with your smartphone today will be integrated into or onto your body in the future. Data display and electronic vision enhancement is going to be a major part of peoples' lives going into the future, according to EPGL.