“Crude contact lens displays” may be possible in next five years, says Carmack

by Will Mason • September 15th, 2015

The ultimate dream for AR and VR is that the hardware disappears, leaving only the experience. For many this means a display that is as minimalistic as possible, like a contact lens. Right now contact lens displays aren’t technically possible, we haven’t gotten there… yet.

But if you ask Oculus CTO John Carmack he’ll tell you it “isn’t total crazy talk” to think we might see something in the next five years, even if it is something very rudimentary.

The discussion began surrounding Google’s experimentations with smart contact lens technology. The company is currently working to install a small sensor array and camera inside a contact lens and have filed a patent for the technology. While these displays may end up being technically possible in the next five years, Carmack doesn’t necessarily think they will be “good” in that timeframe.

So cool the jets on the hype train a little bit now, it’s going to probably be a while before they make it to consumers, and even when they do they more than likely won’t be close to good enough for a use case as visually demanding as VR. That said, the groundwork is being laid, and when one of the smartest people in technology speculates about something like this, it is worth paying attention.

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