Glasses Get High-Tech Part 3

by Sunil Varma, on 30th April 13
Category: Technology

Part 3 of 3

In our last section on high-tech glasses we explore electronic lenses and how glasses can help spot health problems early and improve the lives of blind people.

Helping With Partial Blindness

Oxford University researchers are developing glasses which could lead to blind people having a better quality of life and preventing accidents. The frames have 2 tiny cameras set into them which alert the wearers by flagging up potential obstacles and transmitting them to them lenses. The lenses act as screens, flagging up objects to the user that could get in their way. Although not available yet and costing over $1,000 a pair they are still in the early stages, but the developers are hoping within 2 years they will be widely available.

Electronic Lenses

Regular vari-focals have 2 different powers in the lenses, allowing a wearer to use them for both close items and objects in the distance. But the wearer has to look through either the top or bottom of the lens and adjust their vision. Scientists have now developed electronic lenses which know if you are reading or looking into the distance and automatically adjust the lens power. These state of the art glasses have microchips and a battery, with liquid crystals within the lenses. If a user changes where they are looking a tiny current passes through the lenses which change the shape of the liquid crystals and make them thicker or thinner. They currently retail at about 10 times the price of a regular vari-focal, we can't see them hitting your local optical store anytime soon.

Spotting Autism

Lack of eye contact has been linked with a number of neurological conditions. So researchers in the states have come up with a set of frames that track eye-gaze. The tiny cameras in the glasses track eye movements, researchers believe this will help identify developmental delays sooner. Early detection can lead to earlier treatment which is thought to be more effective.

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