LAS VEGAS — Innovega, a Seattle-area company that has been getting lots of attention for its augmented-reality glasses technology, is showing a new prototype here that uses a small panel similar to Google Glass, but works in combination with the company’s high-tech contact lenses to make it possible to see a much more detailed display.
The company is developing the technology with an eye toward consumers, and talking with major consumer electronics companies about partnering to bring the technology to market, said Steve Willey, the Innovega CEO, showing the new prototype at the company’s booth on the opening day of CES in Las Vegas.
“Google Glass is a first generation,” Willey said. “We’re clearly a next generation.”
Innovega’s technology uses special contact lenses that refocus light to let users see images and text that would normally be too close to the eye to discern clearly. The company expects the first adopters to be teens and others who already wear contact lenses, but it believes others will see enough benefit from the augmented reality to wear the contacts even if they don’t need corrective lenses.
The company’s previous prototypes, developed with the help of DARPA and NSF funding, used a small device to project light onto the interior surface of the glasses. That immersive experience is still being targeted for potential commercial and military uses.
Willey said one enabler for the consumer version, with the small display panel, will be the emergence of small transparent displays that allow users to see past the displayed text and graphics. Those types of displays could be incorporated seamlessly into the lens of the glasses.
The company, with offices in Bellevue and San Diego, has about 10 employees, with additional 10 consultants and contractors. It has received financing from a undisclosed patner and expects to start discussions with venture capital firms soon about a traditional Series A round.