SCENE + HEARD: Today's Read CES, Much Smaller in Virtual Form, Remains a Prime Showcase for Optical Tech By Andrew Karp Friday, February 5, 2021 8:00 AM It’s hard to say how many miles of aisles I’ve walked over the 10 years that I’ve attended CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Let’s just say I have worn out several pairs of shoes while treading the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Convention Center and other CES venues. This year I spared my soles and let my fingers do the walking, as they used to say in those old Yellow Pages ads. (Remember them?) That’s because CES, like countless conventions and meetings around the world, was a virtual event. The show, held Jan. 11 to 14, 2021, was a shadow of the live version, attracting 80,746 attendees instead of the 180,000 or so who packed last year’s show. Far fewer exhibitors also took part in the virtual show, a change that was also reflected in the reduced number of optical companies that showed their wares. Yet CES 2021 still proved to be an important showcase for optical products. As in past years, I discovered some new and innovative products, including some that are market-ready and others that are still in development. I’ve cherry picked the products that I thought were the most impressive and would be most interesting for VMail readers. Here’s my curated tour of CES 2021, from an optical tech perspective. SMART CONTACT LENSES Smart contact lenses will probably hit the market in the next few years. Wired CLs offer exciting new capabilities for wearers and new revenue streams for ECPs. Three different smart contact lens companies vied for attention at CES, each offering unique materials and design concepts. Mojo Lens from Mojo Vision, a Saratoga, California-based startup, was voted the winner of the prestigious Last Gadget Standing competition CES 2021. The lens, which is still in development, uses proprietary augmented reality technology to project images, video and text onto the wearer’s field of vision. It’s noteworthy that Mojo Vision is initially intending its lens to be used for low vision patients. To learn more about Mojo Lens, read my interview with Dr. Michael Wiemer, Mojo Vision’s co-founder, vice president, engineering and chief technical officer. InWith Corp. premiered a configuration to enable developers to place augmented vision display chip applications into any soft hydrogel contact lenses, allowing the materials to expand and contract in the normal manufacturing process. This breakthrough enables multiple developers to create displays and ophthalmic improvement applications for contact lenses and intraocular lenses already used by millions of people daily. InWith has pioneered the techniques of integration of solid components and circuits into Bausch & Lomb contact lenses. Phi Biomed is a biomedical company focusing on the development of biomaterials, biomedical devices, and biomedical products for drug delivery and tissue engineering. The Korean company is working to commercialize smart contact lenses in collaboration with Interojo Co. for various “theranostic” applications. SMART GLASSES The consumer market for smart glasses has yet to take off, although the enterprise market continues to expand. While eyeglass companies are still working on products that have an appealing form factor and feature set for consumers, tech companies such as Bosch Sensortech are taking the lead. Bosch debuted its Smartglasses Light Drive at CES 2021 and was named a CES Innovation Award honoree. Bosch describes Light Drive as “an all-in-one technology stack consisting of MEMS mirrors, optical elements, sensors, and onboard processing.” Designed as an all-day wearable, the glasses feature an easy-to-fit low-power display device for all utility or recreational near-eye display applications. The turnkey system enables smaller, lighter, more stylish smartglasses designs that meet the visual and comfort needs of everyone, according to Bosch. The system displays just-in-time, hands-free information in a minimalist format, making it ideal for applications including navigation and notifications, as well as messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and WeChat. Bosch was recognized as a CES Innovation Award Honoree for Smartglasses Light Drive. Computer giant Lenovo introduced the ThinkReality A3 lightweight smart glasses. One of the most advanced and versatile enterprise smart glasses to come to market, the ThinkReality A3 tethers to a PC or select Motorola smartphones via a USB-C cable depending on the needs of smart workers anywhere. Versatile, portable, and comfortable, the ThinkReality A3 fits like sunglasses and can be enhanced with industrial frame options for safer and more durable use. Immersive but not isolating, the AR smart glasses are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 Platform for high-quality performance and feature stereoscopic 1080p displays presenting the user with up to five virtual displays. An 8MP RGB camera provides 1080p video for remote expert use cases while the dual fish-eye cameras provide room-scale tracking. EVAD-1 from Julbo is a new generation of sports connected eyewear. It enables the display of performance data directly in the field of view, without requiring any particular actions thanks to a head-up display. Integrating Microled's ActiveLook technology, EVAD-1 makes it possible to directly display sports performance data, such as beats per minute, pace, speed and distance, in the glasses. With its Bluetooth connectivity, it will eventually be possible to pair EVAD-1 with many devices, to offer sportspeople ever more information, displayed directly in the eyewear or the complementary dedicated app. Julbo was named a CES Innovation Award Honoree for EVAD-1. Vuzix was named a CES Innovation Award Honoree for its Next Generation Smart Glasses (NGSG). NGSG combines smartphone and smartwatch capabilities all in a pair of stylish and comfortable glasses that enable hands-free connectivity while engaged in the real world with a bold and transparent 3D display. Described by Vuzix as “the ultimate Smart Phone accessory,” NGSG lets wearers enjoy an active lifestyle with handsfree easy voice commands or simple gesture controls, allowing them to stay connected with their surroundings and with the digital world as if they were merged into one space. ASSISTIVE DEVICES OrCam Read by Orcam Technologies was recognized with a CES Best of Innovation award in both the Accessibility and Health & Wellness categories, respectively. OrCam Read is a handheld device that attaches to an eyeglass frame and reads text aloud from printed surfaces such as newspapers, books and product labels or digital screens, in real time. Screens and Blue Light Management LG Display, a leading innovator of display technologies and one of the world's largest display manufacturers, and Eyesafe, a leader in low blue light solutions for the consumer electronics industry, announced the world's first ever Eyesafe Certified television display at CES 2021. The new display, which will serve a 65" OLED television model, was designed to meet Eyesafe requirements for low emissions of blue light and optimal color performance. The new 65" OLED display ushers in a new era of advanced television displays that are designed for human health. LG Display expects many new Eyesafe television displays to come to market throughout 2021, as the television industry begins adopting Eyesafe Standards in an effort to communicate health and safety to end-consumers DISPENSING AND DISINFECTION The Zeiss UV Clean from Carl Zeiss Vision was named as a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree honoree in the Health & Wellness category. The Zeiss unit is a UVC germicidal chamber specifically developed for use by eyecare professionals to disinfect eyeglasses. Zeiss UVClean deploys four germicidal UVC bulbs to completely bathe each pair of eyeglasses in powerful UV light. The unit can disinfect 6 to 10 frames in 40 seconds and kills up to 99.5 percent of common viruses and bacteria on the surfaces of eyeglasses, according to Zeiss. EYE HEALTH AND WELLNESS EyeQue VisionCheck 2 by EyeQue was named as an honoree in two categories: Health & Wellness and Mobile Devices & Accessories. A smartphone-powered ophthalmic refractometer, EyeQue Vision Check 2 measures refractive error, generating EyeGlass Numbers (EGNs), the lens-power needed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. VROR Eye Dr by M2S, an ophthalmic testing device that uses virtual reality, was honored with a Best of Innovation Award. The contents inside the VR headset stimulates eyes and the eye-tracking sensor detects its movement. The sensor forwards the data to the examination algorithm and after the analyzing process, you can get the ophthalmic examination data in digital report form. You can check the examination data on your mobile phone through our mobile application and review the details and also utilize the application as an examination history book. The device was approved by the U.S. FDA in December, 2019. ACCESSORIES Foxsmart debuted Findy, a small, lightweight Bluetooth eyeglass finder. The Zurich, Switzerland-based company touts the device, which has a long range and loud alert, as being “great for dementia and Alzheimers patients, families and caregivers.” Findy uses the same technology found in Bluetooth earbuds and is the smallest (28mm x 5mm) and lightest eyeglass finder on the market. Users can find their glasses on the Findy app screen or via a loud buzzing noise. AUDIO-INTEGRATED GLASSES JLab Audio showcased JBuds Frames, an audio device that can fit onto almost any pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses. Two clips secure ensure a snug fit for all frame temples with two sets of included silicone sleeves, according to JLab. A major advantage of JBuds is that unlike earbuds, they do not block your ears and interfere with hearing. JBuds feature eight hours-plus playtime, excellent sound thanks to C3 (Crystal Clear Clarify) Technology + 16mm Drivers and controls for play/pause, volume, tracks and voice assistance capability. A dual connect function lets wearers use JBuds Frames together or individually, with MEMS mic in each earpiece.