One of the coolest products I’ve seen was brought by a electronic focusing lens company named PixelOptics. Along with them they brought a few production models of their emPower! electronic prescription eyewear. They are the world’s first electronic corrective eyeglasses, using composite lenses with a thin transparent LCD-like layer, microchips, micro-machine accelerometers and miniature rechargeable batteries.
According to PixelOptics, they provide a wider field of view, less distortion and alleviate common side effects associated with corrective lenses used for presbyopia. Presbyopia is the diminished ability to focus on near objects that affects many starting around the age of 40.
Beginning in April 2011, the eyeglasses will be available in major U.S. markets, starting in the Southeastern U.S., and then throughout the country by the end of 2011. Plans are to market and sell the innovative eyeglasses globally. Recommended retail pricing is expected to be approximately $1,200 for a complete pair (frames, lenses, coatings, charger and all electronics).
The microchip, micro-accelerometers, and miniature batteries are hidden inside the arms of the eyeglass frames and are what provides the activation of the electronic eyeglass lenses. The transparent LCD layer in each lens is able to electronically change its molecular structure to activate the near focus lens only when needed, making the entire lens available for distance vision otherwise.
Because the lenses are electronically powered, when a wearer of emPower! tilts his or her head down to read or view an object up close, the accelerometer detects the motion, the microchip sends an electronic signal to the LCD layer and alters how the liquid crystals refract light, changing the prescription of the lens, with no moving parts and without making a sound. Wearers can operate the glasses in three different modes: manual on, automatic and manual off.
PixelOptics has partnered with Aspex Eyewear, a leading eyewear company, to manufacture, sell, and distribute electronic emPower! eyeglass frames exclusively in North America.
Prescription eye wearer’s rejoice! Now lets hope your insurance will cover them ;)