It had to happen at some point.
As technology continues to improve every facet of our lives one common item has escaped the never-ending technological revolution. Until now.
Eyeglasses have remained pretty much the same for centuries. Ground glass (or plastic) that can be manipulated during manufacture to correct an individual's sight anomalies.
Yes, there have been advances such as bi- and tri-focal lenses – and progressive – but they all involve permanency. Once they're made to an individuals prescription they can't really be changed. And, in some cases, require a long learning period for new users to get used to.
That's where the people at PixelOptics come in. They have invented a technology they call emPower! (with the exclamation point) – the world's first electronic corrective eyeglasses.
Their system consists of composite lenses with a thin transparent LCD-like liquid crystal layer and microchips, micro-machine accelerometers plus miniature rechargeable batteries which are built-into the eyeglass frame. You place them on a separate charging unit overnight to top-off the batteries.
The transparent liquid crystal layer in each lens is able to electronically change and activate the near focus lens only when needed with no moving parts.
Accordording to the manufacturer, the system “allows for seeing clearly at all distances; far, near and in between”. The user can operate the glasses in three different modes: manual on, automatic and manual off.
In a quick hands-on test, the system worked as described. A touch of a hidden butten near my left temple activated the reading portion of the emPower! glasses. Of course, they weren't made to my prescription but turing on the circuit did change the bottom of the lenses into a near focus/reading zone.
AT the moment, this new technology doesn't come cheap. Expect a pair of frames with these revolutionary lenses to set you back $1,200 or more.
But as this technology matures prices should drop. In the near future, expect to see more prescription eyewear that will take advantage of new, advanced technologies.