Virtual and augmented reality technology will converge in digital "contact lens"

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: augmented and virtual reality visualisation technologies will soon be combined in one device, says Andy Millns of 3D production company Inition in the final part of our interview. Update: this interview is featured in Dezeen Book of Interviews, which is on sale now for £12.

Google Glass
Google Glass: an example of an augmented reality device

"I think augmented reality and virtual reality will essentially converge into the same thing", says Millns.

The co-founder of Inition explains that the next generation of appliances will blur the once-clear distinction between augmented technology devices like Google Glass and virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift headset.

"There's two strains of headsets: the Google Glass-type which only gives you a small image in the corner of your field of view." says Millns, referring to Google's augmented reality spectacles which can overlay digital information like maps and internet searches into the user’s field of vision.

A view through Google Glass
A view through Google Glass

"The other strain is the Oculus Rift type, which is designed to replace the entire world and give you a high resolution and the biggest picture possible." says Millns, referring to the strap-on motion-responsive virtual reality googles from Oculus VR.

Oculus Rift headset
Oculus Rift headset: an example of a virtual reality device

"Eventually those two things will converge [into] some sort of contact lens which goes in your eye and does both of those things. It will give you a huge image at high resolution but also the ability to see through and mix images with the real world", says Millns.

Artist's impression of an everyday augmented reality view, for Google Glass
Artist's impression of an everyday augmented reality view, for Google Glass

Millns also predicts that the integration between displays and humans will become tighter and tighter, leading to what he calls a "cyborg situation where you have something embedded inside your brain that has a direct interface to your visual cortex."

Andy Millns of Inition portrait
Andy Millns of Inition. Copyright: Dezeen

This is the third in a series of interviews with Millns. In the first he predicted that advances in virtual reality will "blur the line between what's virtual and what's real" and in the second he discussed how augmented reality technology will revolutionise the way we navigate cities.

The music featured in the movie is a track by Floyd Lavine. You can listen to Lavine's music on Dezeen Music Project. Contact lens image is courtesy of Shutterstock.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers  is a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming together to shape the future.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers