Developed by research scientists at the University of Utah, ‘smart-glasses’ with liquid-based lenses that can flex to refocus on whatever the user is looking at. This new technology has been developed with the purpose of mimicking the behavior of our eye’s natural lens, which is to flex and bend to focus on whatever we are looking at, whether it is near, far, or in between.

As we age, the lens in our eyes begins to lose its flexibility and becomes more stiff. This results in an inability to focus on different distances like we used to. Standard eyeglasses are able to help our aging eyes focus on certain distances, but it becomes more difficult as we begin to lose focus at multiple distances, which creates the need to have multiple pairs of eyeglasses with different lenses like bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses.

This new technology for lenses that has been developed by researchers in Utah utilizes a liquid called glycerin, which is a clear and thick liquid that is sandwiched in between two membranes. The lenses are then fitted into frames that are made with an electromechanical system that causes the membranes of the lenses to flex in order to adjust the focus. This ability to allow the lense to bend and flex to adjust focus essentially eliminates the need for multiple pairs of eyeglasses with different lenses for different distances.

The glasses are designed to work for most people at a wide range of distances due to a sophisticated computer algorithm that works with two critical variables. One is the eyeglass prescription that the user enters into the system using an attached mobile app. The other is where the user is looking, and specifically how far away. This information is provided by a sensor mounted in the bridge of the glasses that uses pulses of infrared light to identify where the user is looking and provide the precise distance; some pretty high tech stuff.

With the combination of the user’s prescription information, and the distance information that is picked up from the attached sensor, the liquid lenses are instantly able to change their focus according to what the user is looking at. The rate in which the liquid lenses are able to change their shape to refocus on what the user is looking at takes just 14 milliseconds, which is 25 times faster than an eye blink; virtually unnoticeable.

This new technology for eyeglasses could allow people to only have to purchase one type of eyeglasses for their entire life, because of how many different distances the glasses can achieve focus with.

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