The iOptik contact lens is a revolutionary product that’s about to change the future of augmented reality vision.
The iOptik lens allows a user to clearly perceive images beamed onto special pairs of glasses, enabling augmented reality in a way never achieved before.
The lenses could be the missing link between fuzzy pictures on clunky glasses and crystal clear images projected onto designer lenses.
Willey has an eye for tech, and he took the time to chat with us about how he runs a business on the cutting edge of innovation.
- Find a single problem and try to solve it.
- Don’t be afraid to start completely from scratch
- Once you’ve started, fire on all cylinders and don’t stop
- Build your team of people who love to flirt with the impossible
- Give your staff high goals but a wide latitude to accomplish them
- Shoot high and never give up
Business Insider: How do you get involved in this field?
The Innovega Chief Technology Officer and I had worked at a previous company that had a similar vision of a new wearable display. Its focus on “display” was important, since by solving this difficult problem the field of wearable computing could finally be launched. We became very aware of market needs and alternative technical approaches. None had any potential to meet the goal of “high-performance display integrated into stylish eyewear.”
What inspired you to come up with the iOpt
ik concept?In all circumstances, designers were being forced to choose between “high-performance” or “stylish eyewear.” We eventually left this company but retained our interest in delivering on what we called the “Holy Grail” of displays, the lynchpin of a new generation of wearable computing.
Our CTO told me that if we were willing to start from a clean sheet of paper a successful design could be achieved. This became the genesis of Innovega and of the iOptik display. Not only would the wearing of a modern contact lens completely solve the bulk and weight “show-stopper” of conventional optics and eyewear but it would also improve the natural vision of the wearer.
Since some 50 per cent of humans need some form of vision correction, we started to realise that a lens-based display offered many benefits that went beyond the aggressive design objectives we had set.
How far along is your team?
We are building working prototypes of our eyewear for defence customers and are running approved clinical trials to ensure the performance of our display-related lenses.
Our IT-related work emanates from the Northwest and our lens work is epi-centered in San Diego where our team develops nano-tech material for use inside our lenses. Our Chief Regulatory and Clinical office also works from San Diego and in-turn contracts, as required, with advisors and consultants.
As a parallel activity we are building our supply chains and as a consequence working with multiple sub-contractors. In summary, Innovega is firing on all cylinders and ready to move to its next phase of growth that involves cooperation with one of more gaming or global media giants.
What makes your company exceptional?
The individuals on our team are of world-class calibre. Their bond is the vision spelled out above. Nothing we do is simple or easy and this attracts a certain type of person, one that is both creative but also unrelenting.
The combination of a blockbuster market opportunity, our selection of a radically new (and heavily patented) architecture, and the culture of non-stop creativity yields a highly unique and attractive company.
What advice do you have for others interested in innovating?
Shoot high … never give up.
How do you get your employees into the creative mindset to develop the product?
We hire the best staff. We give them enormous latitude to perform. We set the bar high and expect the (near) impossible. This gets the juices flowing for someone with something to prove! So far, the formula is working.
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