SBIR Phase II: Optic-On-Eye Virtual Reality Display

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will extend the development of the contact-lens-enabled virtual reality display system demonstrated in Phase I. A key goal will be to advance the construction of the contact lenses to be ready for commercial market tests and OEM partner evaluations. Although the Phase I devices are fully functional and have validated the analytical predictions, they are not yet suitable for commercialization. The main deficiencies are the non-permeability of the polarization filter, the inadequacy of the joining adhesive, and the immaturity of the manufacturing processes. This project plans to develop a highly gas permeable polarizer using nano-imprinting onto gas permeable polymers. In addition, the contact lens construction techniques will be advanced in order to improve optical performance. A further goal is to develop prototype stereographic video eyewear to be used together with the contact lenses in support of clinical evaluations. Lastly, an IRB protocol will be developed and the contact lenses will be put through clinical trials. It is anticipated that all-day- wear contact lenses can be produced that will be able to meet FDA approval, and the performance advantages of this new display system can be evaluated during formal clinical tests. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be a significant improvement in how mobile and immersive imagery is viewed. Today, mobile computing devices must present their information through small LCD panels, while immersive computing must settle for the limited fields of view available through flat panel monitors and TVs. Wearable electronic eyewear are available today that attempt to address these limitations, but they themselves suffer from limited fields of view and excess bulk. This SBIR research will address the remaining unresolved technical challenges in order to prepare this new display concept for commercialization. If successful, a meaningful enhancement of human vision will have been achieved by making it possible to directly view very near objects without impacting normal distance vision. These advancements will enable many new applications for wearable displays including augmented reality, highly immersive 3-D video, stylish mobile display eyewear, wearable surgical imaging devices, and even comfortable high quality electronic low vision aids for sufferers of macular degeneration and other vision disorders. Because mobile devices and home computers are so ubiquitous in our modern societies, the anticipated benefits of improving the man/machine interface through high quality virtual imagery eyewear should impact numerous markets and demographics.