Carlos Mastrangelo started suffering from a vision problem, which many people develop as they age, in his early 50s. Since, he could not focus up close anymore, doctor suggested him to wear glasses whenever he wanted to read a book. The most annoying thing was that he had to continuously put on and take off his glasses throughout the day as per the need. When he had to drive, he didn’t required his glasses to look at the road but without them he could not see the GPS screen and other functions for radio etc. on the dash panels. So Mastrangelo, who is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of Utah, decided to solve the problem for himself by creating a pair of Smart Glasses.
ABOUT AND USE
These Smart Glasses (also displayed at CES 2017) are made of liquid lenses which focus on whatever the wearer of the Smart Glasses is looking at i.e. both far away and close. This way, people with presbyopia (Mastrangelo’s eye problem) would not have to put them on and take them off continuously all the time.
The Smart Glasses has a unique distance sensor located in the bridge of the glasses which uses infrared light to calculate the distance between the object which is being viewed and the glasses. These sensors then tell the “actuators” to reshape how the liquid lenses are curved to change the focus.
PHENOMENA AND REASON
The focal length of a lens is controlled by the curvature of the lens. Our eyes are very similar to a lens and hence, this phenomena happens naturally in our eyes too. Young people have flexible eye lenses which help them to focus far away and close things both. As we grow old, these lenses become rigid and are not able to focus to its entire extent. Hence, outer aid is needed. Changing the curvature of the liquid lenses allows the Smart Glasses to change its focus to see whatever the wearer is looking at clearly. It takes roughly 14 milliseconds for the Smart Glasses to change focus and the rechargeable batteries lasts more than 24 hours which serves the purpose for a full day easily, says Mastrangelo.
The current design is bulky but seeing the responses at CES 2017, Mastrangelo and doctoral student Nazmul Hasan are already working on a lighter, slimmer, stylish and an enhanced version of the existing model. Some planned enhancements include eye tracking and depth camera as well. For added features, power consumption would be more and hence, they are even coming up with a more powerful battery for better backup.
LAUNCH AND PRICING
As per Mastrangelo, the Smart Glasses will be available within two or three years and would be priced between $500 to $1000.
Mastrangelo swears by his invention despite of the expected pricing. These glasses will compensate for the loss of people due to focusing problems in their eyes and will help them to see clear and sharp images at all times. For what it offers, “They are worth the price” says Mastrangelo.