Jan 6, 2023 - Technology

Smart contact lens startup pivoting, laying off 75% of staff

MojoVision's prototype smart contact lens

Image: Mojo Vision

Mojo Vision, a startup that had embarked on a years-long effort to create a smart contact lens with a built-in display, is pivoting from that focus and laying off three-quarters of its staff.

Why it matters: A number of the most ambitious efforts in tech, especially around augmented and virtual reality, face challenges amid a slowing economy and a more difficult fundraising environment.

Details: The company said in a blog post on Friday that it is shifting its near-term work to focus on the micro-LED display technology it developed for use in the smart contact.

Between the lines: The company demonstrated a working prototype last year, but commercialization was still years off.

  • "Even as we made important product development progress, Mojo has faced significant challenges in raising capital," CEO Drew Perkins said in a blog post.
  • "The slumping global economy, extremely tight capital markets, and the yet-to-be proven market potential for advanced AR products have all contributed to a situation where Mojo Vision has been unable to find additional private funding to continue its development of Mojo Lens."

The big picture: Mojo Vision wasn't alone in pursuing smart contacts.

  • Google has invested in trying to develop lenses that can be used to measure blood glucose, though this has proven to be tricky.
  • Other big names have also explored the field, including Samsung, as have startups such as Innovega.
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