Mojo Vision’s miniature display actually got me excited about AR

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When you think of cutting-edge screens, you probably imagine a giant modular screen or even a roll-up TV.

Mojo Vision just showed me just the opposite: a tiny monochrome screen measuring half a millimeter in diameter that I can only see under a microscope.

The Silicon Valley startup is working on what it calls “invisible computing” technology. Rather than being constantly distracted by a phone in front of your face all the time, or the friction of an AR or VR headset, Mojo Vision says this technology can help you be more present and engaged in the real world. So if you get a notification or need to quickly access information, you will be able to see it at a glance.

This 14,000 dpi miniature display is not yet an actual product. Mojo Vision is silent on how the screen will ultimately be used, but Steve Sinclair, senior vice president of product and marketing for Mojo Vision, tells me “we’re building something pretty daring.” With a density of 200 million pixels per square inch, he says it’s perfect for the app the company is trying to create.

Instead of augmented reality devices like the Magic Leap One or Microsoft Hololens, which have a screen inside a bulky headset, this technology could be placed very close to the eye. Its hexagonal shape also gives me a pretty good idea of ​​where it might ultimately end up. A previous CNET report indicated that this mystery product is likely to be contact lenses.

To the naked eye, however, this screen looks like nothing more than a miniature green dot. It’s not even the size of a pinhead. But under the microscope it becomes clear that I am looking at something big. Looking through the scope, I adjust the focus and see a fast looping clip of Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley.

I just got rickrolled by the smallest screen in the world.

The text I saw on the screen under the microscope.

Vision Mojo

There’s also an image loop and short video clips: a quick GIF of Princess Leia, an image of Albert Einstein, and finally some stylized text. To my surprise, I can read every word clearly.

This MicroLED display has about 300 times the pixel density of your standard phone screen. It is also much denser than the screens found on other VR headsets like the HTC Vive Pro. MicroLED is also used by Samsung in its High end TV called The Wall and can offer higher brightness levels than other display technologies such as OLED.

Many big tech companies are pushing hard on AR and VR technology, with Google, Samsung, and Facebook already in the race. Even Apple is supposed to be working on a helmet that could debut in 2020. Augmented reality places objects like text, graphics, or other elements in your field of vision, overlaid on a real-world image. You can use it for walking routes in Google Maps or for playing games in Snapchat where you score points by catching virtual eggs in your mouth.

Mojo Vision won’t tell me when we’ll likely see their end product hit the market or how much that potentially cost. There is certainly prestige within the company, with former veterans of Google, Apple and HP in its ranks, which makes this small screen all the more intriguing as to its next destination.

“We’re actually working on even smaller pixels than that,” Sinclair explains. “Our goal is to eventually try to match the resolution of the human eye.”

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