University of Utah researchers produced a prototype pair of smart glasses by using flexible lenses and piezoelectric pistons where the lens’ curvature is gradually altered by the pistons.
Unlike traditional, rigid glasses, the lenses of these smart glasses are flexible, enabling focus to be sharpened for both nearsighted and farsighted users. Each lens is comprised of two flexible membranes encase a highly refractive liquid called glycerol. The lenses stretch and curve outward as transparent pistons push them forward and as the pistons move back, the lenses retract and arch inwards.
In order for these smart glasses to adjust to an individual’s vision requirements, the glasses require a patient’s prescription that can be entered into a mobile app. A sensor in the center of the frame can then measure the distance to the desired focal point. By combining the desired focal point distance with a patient’s prescription, a micro-controller in one stem of the glasses uses a specialized algorithm to determine how much voltage to apply to the piezoelectric pistons to achieve the desired curvature.
Working for up to six hours before needing to be charged, this functioning prototype has the potential to also integrate eye-tracking technology, providing even more precise focus adjustments. Currently, the glasses are comprised of thicker stems and wide frames. Researchers hope to streamline the design prior to manufacturing it for consumer consumption.
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Source: IEEE Spectrum