Mojo Vision's miniature display actually made me excited about AR

What if the next AR headset wasn't a headset, but a display so small you can hardly see it?

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables, smartwatches, mobile phones, photography, health tech, assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
3 min read
Mojo Vision

When you think of cutting-edge displays, you probably picture a giant modular screen or even a rollable TV.

Mojo Vision has just showed me the complete opposite: a tiny monochrome display measuring half a millimeter across that I can only see under a microscope.

The Silicon Valley startup is working on what it calls "invisible computing" technology. Rather than constantly being distracted by having a phone in your face all the time, or the friction of an AR or VR headset, Mojo Vision says this tech can help you be more present and engaged with the real world. So if you get a notification or need to quickly access information, you'll be able to see it at a glance.

This miniature, 14,000-ppi display isn't an actual product -- yet. Mojo Vision is keeping quiet on how the display will eventually be used, but Steve Sinclair, Mojo Vision's senior vice president of product and marketing tells me "we're building something pretty audacious." With a density of 200 million pixels per square inch, he says it's perfect for the application the company is trying to build.

Instead of augmented reality devices like the Magic Leap One or Microsoft Hololens , which have a display inside a bulky headset, this technology could be placed very close to the eye. Its hexagonal shape also gives me a pretty good idea of where this might finally end up. A previous CNET report indicated that this mystery product is likely to be contact lenses.

To the naked eye, however, this display looks like nothing more than a miniature green dot. It's not even the size of a pinhead. But under a microscope, it becomes clear I'm looking at something big. Staring down into the scope, I adjust the focus and see a quick looped clip of Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.

I've just been Rickrolled by the world's tiniest display.


The text I saw on the display under the microscope.

Mojo Vision

There's also a loop of images and short video clips: A quick GIF of Princess Leia, an image of Albert Einstein and finally some stylized text. To my surprise, I can read every word clearly.

This MicroLED display has a pixel density that's about 300 times greater than your standard phone screen. It's also much denser than those displays found on other VR headsets like the HTC Vive Pro . MicroLED is also used by Samsung in its high-end TV called The Wall and can deliver higher brightness levels than other display technologies such as OLED.

Many big tech companies are pushing hard on AR and VR technology, with Google , Samsung and Facebook already in the race. Even Apple is rumored to be working on a headset that may debut in 2020. Augmented reality places objects like text, graphics or other elements in your field of vision, overlaid onto an image of the real world. You can use it for walking directions in Google Maps , or for playing games in Snapchat where you score points by catching virtual eggs in your mouth.

Mojo Vision wouldn't give me an indication of when we're likely to see their final product come to market or how much it would potentially cost. There's certainly prestige within the company, with former Google, Apple and HP veterans among its ranks, which makes this tiny display all the more intriguing as to where it could go next.

"We're actually working on pixels that are even smaller than this," Sinclair says. "Our goal is to eventually try and match the resolution of the human eye."