Carrying around two sets of glasses for well-rounded sight may soon be a thing of the past.
Researchers have crafted a pair of ‘smart glasses’ that amazingly auto-adjusts & focuses on whatever the person is gazing at. These ‘adaptive glasses’ employ liquid-based lenses and sensors that alters lens strength to allow users to see both near and faraway objects, all in a single set of frames.
The glasses were developed by a team from the University of Utah, who unveiled their first prototype, hoping their invention will end the need for multiple pairs of glasses and changing prescriptions.
“Most people who get reading glasses have to put them on and take them off all the time,” says Carlos Mastrangelo, who also is a professor for USTAR, the Utah Science Technology and Research economic development initiative.
“You don’t have to do that anymore. You put these on, and it’s always clear.”
Mastrangelo designed the special lenses with his colleague Nazmul Hasan, using rubbery, glycerin membranes, which is a thick, colourless liquid found in soap. Three actuators on each lens push the membranes back and forth, like the piston of a car, adjusting the focal length between the lens and eye.
“The focal length of the glasses depends on the shape of the lens, so to change the optical power we actually have to change the membrane shape,” Mastrangelo explained.
The frames are also custom to the lenses, utilizing electronics and a battery to control the actuators.
When the user looks at an object, a ‘distance meter’ in the bridge of the glasses instantly calculates the distance, telling the actuators how to curve the lenses for optimal vision. If the user changes their focal point, maybe to a closer object, the distance meter recalibrates, telling the actuators to reshape the lens for farsightedness.
Hasan says his lenses can change focus fast – from one object to another in just 14 milliseconds.
Another cool feature of these glasses are for those with an existing prescription: users can plug their prescription into their frames, which adjusts them automatically via Bluetooth. Once the user does this process once, they won’t need another pair of glasses…ever.
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The only downside? With all of the team’s efforts put into the functionality and practicality of the glasses, do you think they gave any thought into how these Mr.Magoo-like frames would appeal to the vanity of the public?