RIP, bifocals?

Researchers at the University of Utah just unveiled a pair of eyeglasses that can sense where you’re looking and instantly provide the optimal correction for different distances… all while taking your prescription into account.

In other words, bifocals (or having to own multiple pairs of glasses for different tasks) could soon be a thing of the past. Middle-aged folks, rejoice!

But also realize that this “tunable lense” approach isn’t new…

In fact, it’s been tried numerous times before. Some relied on sliding combinations of hard lenses that needed to be focused manually, others on shape-shifting lenses that adjusted automatically.

Unfortunately, nothing ever met mass-market needs, either because of impracticality or pure awkwardness (aka. walking around with something straight out of the eye doctor’s office perched on your face).

The Utes think they have a winner, though…

According to The Wall Street Journal (paywall), this new prototype is “based on an infrared distance meter built into the bridge of the frames.”

Here are the advantages:

  • Fast. When you shift your eyes from your book to the TV, or from the menu to the waitress across the room, these glasses can make the adjustment in just 14 milliseconds.
  • Rechargeable. A rechargeable battery sits in the area of the glasses near your temple, and according to the research team, a single charge lasts around 24 hours.
  • Connected and adjustable. Future customers input their prescription into a smartphone app, which is then sent to the glasses.

Best of all: If your prescription changes, all you have to do is update the app, as opposed to buying a whole new pair like we do now.

Welcome to the future of eyeglasses. Now we sit back, say a little prayer, and hope these things actually make it to market.

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