banner
Family

New smart glasses could end the need for bifocals

Posted January 25

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Carlos Mastrangelo, right, and doctoral student Nazmul Hasan work with the smart glasses. (Photo credit: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering) (Deseret Photo)

Say goodbye to bifocals and hello to smart glasses.

A research team at the University of Utah recently put together a set of "smart glasses," which use lenses that automatically adjust their focus to what the person around them is looking at, no matter if it's far away or up close.

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Carlos Mastrangelo and doctoral student Nazmul Hasan said in a press release that these glasses could eliminate the need for reading glasses.

“Most people who get reading glasses have to put them on and take them off all the time,” Mastrangelo said. “You don’t have to do that anymore. You put these on, and it’s always clear.”

Here's how the smart glasses work.

  • Human eyes require lenses to focus, but lenses lose ability to focus as they age.
  • These smart glasses use glycerin — a colorless liquid — to help move the lenses back and forth, changing the focal point. The glycerin is enclosed within a rubber-like material, and moves the lenses like a piston, back and forth.
  • Researchers created special eyeglass frames for the lenses. The lenses measure the distance between the wearer and the object and will readjust its focus based on that distance.
  • In simple terms, if you're reading a book and then look across the street at a house, the glasses will adjust automatically.
  • The shift takes 14 milliseconds, according to the press release.
The glasses need to charge for 24 hours. Before people use them, they have to input their prescription into an accompanying app. Bluetooth connects the app to the glasses.

The researchers published their findings in the research journal Optics.

These glasses were on display at the Consumer Electronic Show last month (although the U. researchers weren't the only ones to display smart glasses). It will take roughly three years for a more commercialized version to be released, though, the researchers said.

But it's unclear whether smart glasses will have a place in today's technological world. After all, Google Glass — the search engine company's attempt to create glasses that people could take photos with — were deemed a "miserable failure." Some describe it as an "epic fail."

"Google Glass failed to help consumers understand why they needed such a device," according to Forbes.

More recently, Snapchat released a product called Spectacles. They have limited availability, according to Business Insider.

But so far, they seem to be a hit, according to Fox News.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all