The Eyeglasses of the Future

Life would be so much simpler if the body did not degrade with age, but it’s a mere fact of life that over the years, vision becomes weaker and skin becomes wrinkled. Glasses have helped countless people around the world maintain their eyesight even with vision problems, but a new development is changing the way that glasses function.

The Automatically Adjusting Eyeglasses

Researchers at the University of Utah are making headlines with their invention of glasses that automatically adjust to anything the wearer looks at. This could potentially eliminate the need for eyeglass users to keep multiple pairs of eyeglasses based on need. It’s not uncommon for people to have one pair for reading and another for driving.

These glasses are so different because of how they are created. Standard glasses, the type Americans have been relying on for years, use hard lenses that adjust focus based on unique visual needs. This means that one person might have glasses geared specifically toward reading from short distances, while another person’s glasses help them see hundreds of feet ahead, but both would need to be removed when not in the exact situation meant for those glasses. There has also been the option of bifocals, which can be worn throughout the day because they split the lens between an everyday prescription and a reading prescription.

However, the glasses engineered by Carlos Mastrangelo and his team at University of Utah change all of that by replacing rigid lenses with thick glycerin liquid enclosed in flexible membranes. The front of the glasses contains an infrared sensor that automatically detects the distance between the wearer and whatever he is looking at, and the “lenses” actually alter their curve in order to provide the right focus.

Connecting to Technology

Taking it one step further, these smart glasses even sync with a smartphone app that contains a code of the correct prescription. This is the key to helping the glasses adjust the lenses correctly. No lag time is expected, since a tweak in focus can occur in 14 milliseconds. However, the current prototype isn’t exactly attractive, and even the inventors don’t expect that anybody will want to wear them. Over the next three years, they will work on adjusting the style to make these smart glasses available for all glasses users.