Innovega/DARPA AR Contact Lens concept (via DARPA)
As if calling in air-strikes with augmented reality glasses wasn't enough, now every soldier will get the virtual-world overlay on their eyes. DARPA is funding Innovega, a company looking to change the way we look at our digital and real worlds. The Air Force and Army both presently use head-up display (HUD) units to superimpose information about enemies, their environment, and other status updates in front of their field of view. However, Innovega offers a new technology that increases their field of view of the projection and greatly decreases the size of the product.
Innovega's system, called iOptik, uses contact lenses that have two different zones. This works by two different filters, an outer one used to see objects in your surrounding environment, and one at the very center that allows you to focus on very near objects with precise resolution. This dual-focus system will allow light rays to pass through the eye to the retina with two images in focus. The human eye has the amazing ability to choose which image it would like to see depending upon the user.
The system will also use small projectors placed on the side of the head near the ears to display the image on the lenses. According to Innovega, the image projected will appear very wide, similar to the experience of viewing a movie at an Imax. Additionally, the system can be used in different applications outside military purposes. It has a very big potential for 3D movies due to its ability show the eyes two different images at once. It can also be used to create augmented reality video games or superimpose digital information into the real world.
There are some eye-experts who are skeptical about the whole system, stating that it may cause a condition similar to motion sickness. On the other hand, not all people get motion sickness and Google's Project Glass is going to need some competition.