Niantic CEO wants Pokémon GO contact lenses

Posted on August 10, 2016

Pokémon GO is the most successful augmented reality game to date, and it looks as though Niantic Labs wish for augmented reality technology to be pushed even further.

This highly successful game is estimated to earn anywhere between US$200 and $500 million dollars in the next year, seemingly unphased by news stories promoting controversy and persistent server issues.

John Hanke, CEO and founder of Niantic Labs, spoke at a gaming conference in LA stating: “I’m a science-fiction fan so I want the contact lenses that transform everything into whatever kind of themed world I want it to be.  I think a lot of people see that archetype as something that we’d like to have and it’s probably going to get created within our lifetime and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

One day soon you may be able to see a Pinsir in your park through contact lenses
One day soon you may be able to see a Pinsir in your park through augmented reality contact lenses

And it looks as though Hanke may not have that long to wait.

Although it is now almost a distant memory when Google was set to revolutionise the augmented reality industry with  Google Glass, they are adamant that their technology is not dead but in further development in the form of Project Aura, and have already announced contact lens devices, including one able to monitor blood glucose levels.

They may wish to work fast, however, as several other companies are very much active in developing new augmented reality devices that are most certainly set to revolutionise games such as Pokémon GO.

Looking at some of the major players,  back in 2014 Innovega showed off a prototype of iOptik that is capable of projecting a display onto a contact lens as a heads up display.  Apple is reportedly working on both virtual reality and augmented reality products, and Samsung have filed a patent earlier this year for augmented reality contact lenses that are able to be controlled via eye movements and blinking.

So perhaps in the near future you only need to wink at that Snorlax.

Designs for the contact lenses are included in the patent (Samsung/Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service)
Potential legal issues aside, the design for the Samsung contact lens looks awesome and includes a display, camera and antenna (Samsung/Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service)