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Goodbye Bifocals — Electronic Glasses Change Focus

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the see-what-i-see dept.

Medicine 166

kkleiner writes "Move over Ben Franklin, we finally have a replacement for bifocals. Virginia-based Pixel Optics has developed a composite lens that can change the range of focus electronically. The emPower! glasses were created in cooperation with Panasonic Healthcare, and allow you to switch between long distance and short distance vision in a split second. Rather than having a lens divided into two sections, emPower! uses an LCD overlay that can change the focal length of the glasses via electric current. When the LCD layer is off, your lenses are good for intermediate/long distances. Turn the LCD layer on, and a section of the lens is suddenly magnifying close-up images – perfect for reading."

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How do you switch? (3, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850692)

How do you switch between the two? With a mechanical switch? Seems to me like that would be more difficult than just adjusting your gaze between the two lenses, like with normal bifocals...

Re:How do you switch? (3, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850722)

The 16K implanted brain probes sense your intent and adjust accordingly

Re:How do you switch? (2)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850738)

emPower! lets you switch back and forth between near and far by touching the sides of the frames. Or you can engage an accelerometer that will automatically switch between modes depending on whether you are looking up or down.

Seems pretty easy, either tap your frame or use them just like bifocals. Pretty nifty.

Re:How do you switch? (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851776)

Not as nifty as my CrystaLens. Its focus accomodates, exactly like the eye of a young person does (at least from the user's perspective, even if the mechanism is different).

Over the life of your eyeballs a CrystaLens is probably cheaper, too. The surgery is ~$7k per eye, but you only need it once and your eyes focus for the rest of your life, no glasses needed (at least, if your surgeon is competent). If you have cataracts, insurance will pay all but about $1k per eye. You can get cataracts from steroid eyedrops.

The downsides are that the CrystaLens is a surgical implant; they stick a neeedle in your eye, shoot ultrasound down the needle to turn your eye's lens to mush, suck the mush out through the needle, and insert the implant in its place. Most patients don't require any external lenses like glasses or contacts after the surgery, but some do (Evil-X is wearing bifocals, but I think that was a bad choice of surgeons), but most don't have the better than 20/20 vision I got, although something like 98% have better than 20/25. Glasses give better vision for most patients.

(Journal of the procedure here) []

Re:How do you switch? (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853036)

That whole 'stick a needle in your eye' bit freaks me out. It also reminds me of this:

Cross my heart, hope to die,
stick a needle in my eye

Re:How do you switch? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854272)

Mcgrew's account of his things-stuck-in-the-eye adventures are horrifying. For added fun, go read Larry Wall's diary about his cataract surgery. /shudder. Thank you both for writing those, as it really helped educate me, both about the pain involved and the benefits later.

Re:How do you switch? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854560)

You're one of the lucky ones. My close friend is blind in his left eye due to a botched early (experimental) version of this proceedure (from scar tissue, I believe). Also, any time you go under general anesthesia, there is a chance you will never wake up... most that take elective surgeries ignore the statistical dangers of "going under," but they are quite real.

Re:How do you switch? (3, Insightful)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850850)

Idiots. They have no idea how people of bifocals use them, do they?

I have mine set up so that the line between the separately-focused halves is exactly lined up with the top of my monitor - and the focus of the lower half is arm's length, which is just right for screen work and still acceptable for reading.

All I have to do is rotate my eyeball up to see perfectly the guy at the facing desk or rotate it downwards to see the code on my screen perfectly, all without moving my head.

Why on earth would I want to tap my glasses everytime I look up or down?

Re:How do you switch? (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851300)

No offense but that sounds like a pain-in-the-ass.
What we really need is to clone eyeballs with fresh lenses that have the flexible membranes of youth.
C64love (not looking forward to wearing bifocals)

Re:How do you switch? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851416)

I was born with astigmatism. Can I please have someone else eyeballs? =P

Re:How do you switch? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852596)

See this comment [] .

The Crystalens cures myopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, and cataracts.

There were a few errors in TFA (which I just now got around to reading or I'd have added it to my previous comment).

Starting this April, you could have a pair of your very own for $1200 or more. Pretty expensive, but these glasses are just too cool to ignore.

The surgery is only about five times as expensive, so considering that most people need new glasses yearly, the surgery would pay of itself in five years. If you get a cataract in one eye (like, say, from steroid eyedrops), getting that eye fixed is no more expensive than a pair of these glasses after insurance.

Here’s a prediction that I’m also certain will come true: in the future, you will be older.

Not everybody gets older. Many don't live long enough to develop presbyopia.

Starting around age 40, many adults develop presbyopia

No. between 35 and fifty almost EVERYONE develops presbyopia. It's as much a part of growing old as wrinkles are; the eye's lens gets hard, so the muscles will no longer move it.

For millions of people around the world this inevitably leads to reading glasses, or bifocals if you already have bad vision.

No, bifocals if you have myopia or astigmatism. If you already have presbyopia you're not usually going to need bifocals; ten dollar reading glasses from Walgreens will do.

Many people end up having to put their reading glasses on and take them off dozens of times a day

Most don't; they let the reading glasses sit on the end of their nose, and look over them to see distances.

I was always extremely nearsighted. I'd pull my glasses down my nose to focus them for near vision.

All the electronics are completed enclosed within the frame so there’s no worry about destroying them by dropping them in water.

Gees, for twelve hundred bucks I'd be afraid to go outside wearing them; I've had more than one pair of glasses broken or lost in my lifetime, and these puppies are pricy.

Overall, I would say I’m pretty impressed by the glasses.

I wouldn't. Actually, the technology is impressive, but the product isn't.

Lenses that alternate between focal lengths automatically – that’s like Science Fiction 101.

I must be living in SciFi 401 then, because what I have is FAR superior to these.

Re:How do you switch? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853804)

If there's a manufacturing defect or they screw up in the assembly of your eyeglasses, you get a different pair of eyeglasses. Generally for free.

If there's a manufacturing defect or they screw up the crystalens implant surgery, you're blind. Also for free, but the results are nonetheless undesirable.

Re:How do you switch? (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854178)

>I must be living in SciFi 401 then, because what I have is FAR superior to these.

Authorization needed.

Re:How do you switch? (2)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851762)

Bifocals are just a general pain in the ass, even with progressives. Their one saving grace is that they're better than the alternative. Well, I guess it's the plural of "alternative" now. I'll still be sticking with progressives rather than these over-complicated devices.

Re:How do you switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852190)

Well, I guess it's the plural of "alternative" now.

That would be "alternativii" 'cause it's got a 'v' in it like 'virus'

Re:How do you switch? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34850874)

RTFA - you either touch the frame or "engage an accelerometer" (probably not the right device) to switch when you tip your head down.

Also, the entire lens doesn't change focal length, only sections at the bottom of the lens.

Basically, you have bifocals that can be switched to full-frame far vision.

Re:How do you switch? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853422)

How hard is pupil tracking? I mean cameras do it for focusing these days. It can't be that much harder to do it twice. Once you have the position of both pupils, determine how crossed the person's eyes are, and when it exceeds a preset threshold, switch to close focusing. That would be much, much better than either of the above schemes because it wouldn't require the user to pay attention to the glasses.

Similarly, why only use half the glasses? As far as comfort goes, it's easiest to read with your eyes pointing straight forward, not looking down as far as you can. If you can do it for half the lens, it should cost negligibly more to do it for the whole lens.

It's a neat idea in principle, but I'd wait for revision 2.0.

Peril-Sensitive Reading Glasses? (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851044)

I suppose those would be the opposite of what you need here - "No, that small print could be scary - let's refocus for distance!".

Thank you for making a humble pair of reading glasses so very, very happy!

What to do??? RTFA or get first post...? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851274)

Getting first post trumps reading the article I guess.

Re:How do you switch? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851360)

And when can I get it straight onto my eye? With 4k resolution graphics.

Re:How do you switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851442)

They use lasers with frikken sharks dude!

Re:How do you switch? (2)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852112)

It automatically switches every three seconds. Usually at just the wrong time.

Re:How do you switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852326)

Build an Sonar distance measuring system that echo locates the distance to the closest object you are looking at and adjusts the focus accordingly.
or some other tech using IR and binaural view from the glasses to the nearest object that bounces back.
      ( would need 2 cameras to judge the distance to object in front of the face )

So if you are looking at a book the Optical Device recognizes it as being within reading focus distance for near vision and when you look away and the nearest object in the field of vision is now a few meters away the Optical Device changes the focus for distance vision.

Re-calibrate a few times a second or when motion is detected by the glasses on the face as in when looking up from the book.
and of course with manual override for watching movies or to conserve battery life,

Preventing falls (1)

djKing (1970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853028)

As this story on CBC point out bifocals increase the risk of falling. []

So yes switching your gaze is easy with tradition bifocals, but they reduce your field of vision for certain things like walking.

Re:How do you switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34853350)

> How do you switch between the two? With a mechanical switch?

Without even reading the article (ok, obvious here), I'd say it uses the inter-pupil distance as an indicator of the distance of focus.

> Seems to me like that would be more difficult than just adjusting your gaze between the two lenses, like with normal bifocals...

Yes. And using a car is more inefficent and difficult than using a bike (or walking, btw), but the gains in comfort offset problems related to getting a license, being involved in accidents etc.

As some one who needs bifocals -- and had to quit using them because is a too flawed concept -- I do hope this works.

I just wonder why the default is for distant focus... 80% of time I need close reading... ;-P

Re:How do you switch? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853488)

It would be great if it could be controlled by the impulses to the focus muscles in your eye. Better yet would be a flexible lens replacement that just bends like the real thing - non electronically.

Re:How do you switch? (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853768)

why, you clap your hands of course.

Especially for pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34854056)

You look down, you read the instruments, you look up, you read the sky. That's "look up" and "look down" as in move your eyes, not your head, for anyone who has RTFA.

Perfect for (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850710)

breaking and expensive replacements.

Sorry, but I like my analog glasses just fine. I'd hate to have to constantly flip between LCD mode and normal mode. That would drive me nuts more than my graduated glasses are now.

Not everything is better digitally.

Re:Perfect for (4, Insightful)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851058)

This is interesting technology, but just screams "Solution looking for a problem."

Re:Perfect for (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851370)

Actually, if it worked well (and didn't cost $1200) I would buy a pair in a second. I use bifocals all the time around the house and at work. However, for example, if I'm hiking, they're a pain because I'm looking down through the close up lenses and everything gets blurred.

In fact, I have 'outside' and 'inside' glasses for that reason. If you could adjust the magnification of the lenses for even closer work it would be even better.

Looks like a technology to keep an eye on.

Re:Perfect for (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851482)

You need graduated bifocals, like the earlier poster mentioned.

Re:Perfect for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34853262)

Looks like a technology to keep an eye on.


Re:Perfect for (2)

Seedy2 (126078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854268)

They could put in a rangefinder that automatically chose the correct magnification based on what's in front of your head.
If there was an in FOV "aiming dot" (a la HUD) you could aim the range finder at your object of interest.

I tried bifocal sunglasses for a while, had the same issue with blurry feet.
So sunglasses are single vision, clear glasses are bifocal.
Now I just go with the whole "if it's dark I can't see my feet anyway, wear sunglasses outside" thing.

Re:Perfect for (1)

KnightBlade (1074408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851812)

Not to mention these need to be charged. TFA shows a pair being "induction charged". Know, what pair of glasses doesn't need to be charged? The normal kind! What happens when you're in the middle of an important conference/meeting and these give in? "Uhmmm.... excuse me, I'm sorry, I can't sign this document, cause, ummm... my glasses just ran out of juice so I can't read the fine print." Their you tube channel shows a side by side comparison of how images look through normal vs their glasses. [] I don't wear glasses, so I don't know how true the facts they state so actually are.

Re:Perfect for (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854266)

When volume is ramped up, these could easily become less expensive than bifocals; after all, there's only one grinding operation per lens instead of two.

Switching manually is a pain, but so is moving your head to get the correct lens in view.

Why... (2)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850726)

Yes let us bid goodbye to a foolproof, established, and market proven tech because something new has come out.

Taco...Come now, "Welcome the new Bifocals," would have been much more appropriate.

Re:Why... (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850810)

Because I own two pairs of reading glasses *and* wear contacts. As I age, my extreme myopia is combining with presbyopia to require me to keep around several pairs of glasses for different applications: A pair of +1.50 glasses for desk work, reading and computer use, a pair of +2.50 glasses for electronics work, and I sometimes wear both for reading those tiny letters on SMD resistors, etc.

The days are over when I could wear spectacles for my myopia and just remove them for very close work. My eyes just don't focus close anymore at all.

I'd love a practical pair of variable magnification glasses for work.

Re:Why... (2)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851380)

And like your eyesight you miss the point completely.

It is not about there being an new tech. It is not about it being better and someone like you who will benefit from it and likely use it.

But that the idea that because a new tech comes that the old tech is going to go away instantly. Can we please put on some reading glasses such that we have focus on the way tech works on a site like Slashdot.

Re:Why... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850894)

I've got bifocals, and they suck because the reading section is so small. These glasses would also suck, because the reading section is still way too small, requiring you to look down your nose to view a computer terminal. Not exactly the most comfortable position for an 8 hour work day.

Re:Why... (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851108)

Ask for the 35mm lens instead of the 28mm next time you get glasses. They might have to special order it, though.

The 28/35mm refers to the width of the bifocal section. 7mm makes a big difference.

Bifocals really are annoying. (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851124)

If you're doing an 8-hour work day, get full-sized reading glasses, and switch glasses when you're leaving your desk. Or you could try progressive lenses.

Twenty years ago, it was much easier to fix this problem for my supervisor, who was about 60 and constantly switching glasses. We were using the Sun NeWS windowing system, so we just told his screen to use a 25-point font, everything got bigger, and he was happy. On the other hand, today you can get a much bigger screen, and as long as you're not using Windows, it's not too hard to change font sizes.

Re:Bifocals really are annoying. (1)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851896)

and as long as you're not using Windows, it's not too hard to change font sizes.

Or not using Mac OS. That's my one major complaint with Mac OS: 27" screen, and I can't bump the system-wide font size up.

Don't know why you're picking on Windows, though. For quite a while there's been a system setting for "large fonts". Whether or not individual apps honor that is a different story.

Re:Bifocals really are annoying. (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854394)

and as long as you're not using Windows, it's not too hard to change font sizes.

um, how difficult is ctrl-scrollwheel? Even as far back as Windows XP holding the control key down while moving the mouse scroll wheel alters font size in practically every application except the desktop (for which there's a static font size adjust).

Re:Why... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851662)

Might try a style of frame with larger lenses/larger reading section or look into inverted bifocals, which have the near/distance sections swapped.

Re:Why... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851312)

I'm not sure that they're "foolproof". Last year, at age 44 (get off my lawn), I ended up with progressive lenses.

I'm used to them now but it was very surrealistic walking around with them at first, especially with things in the lower part of the focus. I still kick things/step on toys around the house.

Overall I'm 80% happy with them. If these things can do it automagically and avoid the visual screw-ups, I'd try them in a heartbeat.

Re:Why... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851356)

oops, and it's not automagic. Guess I'm keeping these fucking things.

Re:Why... (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853220)

I have progressives too. Note that there are 1/2 dozen different types of progressives that each have different zone layouts. After a week of getting used to them, I like them just fine, had them for years. One other issue I've noted is that there's no such thing as a straight & level line. I mess around with construction & woodworking, and I used to be able to 'eyeball' walls etc. to see if they were straight and level, met at right angles and so forth. Sometimes walls seem like they are leaning slightly when they are not. Since the effect depends on many factors, I can not trust my vision in this particular case any more, so I have to use tools to confirm.

U.S. $ 1200 for Pixelscmoptix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34850728)

to manually switch focus?

Goodbye Pixel Optics .

Yours In Akaemgorodok,
K. Trout

Ugh (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850754)

This is great but I hate wearing glasses. Can't we just get bionic eyes already so I can zoom/record/focus without having to look (any more) like a dork?

Re:Ugh (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850812)

im sorry but glasses are required equipment for nerds.

Re:Ugh (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850834)

While we're at it, can we get X-ray vision too? I'm tired of having to guess what women look like naked, and I'm not qualified to work for the TSA!

Re:Ugh (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851082)

and I'm not qualified to work for the TSA!

You went to College?

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851524)

Hell, he passed kindergarten!

Re:Ugh (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851750)

He is a bit of a pervert though, he just may pass with that exception.

Re:Ugh (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851064)

I don't care about looking like a dork but bionic eyes would be awesome. The major reasons I haven't considered laser surgery is I'm worried about ruining my night vision and amateur astronomy.

Or, take my stem cells and make me new eyes in the lab. That would be fine, too.


Re:Ugh (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851068)

No, Olhado.

The article is wrong. It says that "many" adults develop presbyopia, but that's not true. Eventually, all adults get it, starting at about age 40. The lens in your eye loses its flexibility, meaning that the muscles simply can't move it anymore. That means you can't focus on close-up things, which didn't matter much until we started living past 40 and doing a lot of reading.

There are some options available, though. You mileage may vary.
1. Monocular contact vision. One eye is in distance strength, the other is in reading strength.

2. Surgery. You can get your eyes corrected with LASIK or PRK surgery, and each has a bunch of factors to consider. You can also replace your lens with a synthetic, although that's usually only done on very old people with specific medical conditions. You can also get intra-ocular contacts. You could wear glasses just for reading.

3. Better glasses. This proposes a new solution to progressives of multi-focals. If you don't like wearing glasses, maybe you can find better ones. I can't wear glasses when I'm diving, for example, but I do have 2 dress pairs, sunglasses, swim goggles, all in Rx. I buy them online for a fraction of what I'd pay in town. I've had good luck with clearlycontacts. (I used to be an Optician, so I am exceedingly picky. They aren't quite as good in terms of lens quality, but they are at about 80% of the top-of-the-line lenses. The actual glasses are perfect quality.)

4. Contacts. You can correct the distance vision and then wear reading glasses.

Cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34850808)

Get a smaller sized pair and when you need to read something look under the lenses or take them off.

No thanks, I'm fine with my $60 progressives (2)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850820)

Once these are cheaper then I might switch, but for now the $60 progressives that I bought from [] are working just fine thanks.

Re:No thanks, I'm fine with my $60 progressives (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851224)

I was just going to recommend Zenni Optical myself. I have four pairs of glasses from there for less than it would have cost for one anywhere else.

Re:No thanks, I'm fine with my $60 progressives (2)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851842)

As long as you dont take the Anti-Reflection Coating the quality is quite fine. (The coating itself is nice but it breakdown if you wash your glass under hot water or if you take them to extreme cold)

Re:No thanks, I'm fine with my $60 progressives (2)

darrylo (97569) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854224)

On the other hand, if you're willing to be careful (and not subject the glasses to temperature extremes), the anti-reflection coating is quite nice. I've had progressives with the coating for 2+ years, and the coating is largely intact and unblemished. The only issues are a couple of tiny scratches -- one caused by kleenex (do NOT use kleenex to clean coated lenses) and the other caused either by kleenex or a cotton shirt. I now clean my glasses by doing:

  1. Rinsing under water (sometimes hot -- I've never had problems with hot water, but maybe I'm lucky). Gently shake off excess water.
  2. Spraying on a mixture of 1/4 isopropyl alcohol and 3/4s distilled water. You can often get empty spray bottles (small ones, around 1-3oz) from the drugstore, or you can sometimes refill the "glasses cleaner" sprayers sometimes given out by optometrists.
  3. Wiping/drying with a microfiber cloth -- not the ones that you use to wipe your car, but the small ones designed for glasses and camera lenses. While you can get these from optometrists, they tend to be expensive. You can often get them cheaper from the drugstore or online. Do not use anything made from plant products to wipe the lenses, as these products appear to scratch the coating. This includes kleenex and cotton shirts. I don't know if polyester is safe, but I generally avoid everything but microfiber cloths (many "polyester" clothing are a blend of polyester and cotton, and the cotton can probably scratch).

I do this once or twice a week, and my coatings are still virtually as good as new.

Meh. (5, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850862)

The Superfocus [] ones look much more interesting (continuously variable focus), and are considerably cheaper, too (~$700). Con: they're only available with circular lenses. Pro: they're hyped by Penn Jillette.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851176)

2nd on the superfocus / trufocals - mechanical (actually hydraulic) focus change is simple and allows clarity from close-up to infinity... no charging necessary :-)

Re:Meh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851180)

I've had superfocus glasses for a year and a half now, and I'm not sure these are an improvement. These new whizz-bangy specs still require me to touch my glasses to shift focus, but with the superfocus glasses the entire lens changes focus so I can keep the entire screens of my two monitors in focus. Plus I don't need separate pairs of glasses for driving/reading and coding/reading. And the lack of bifocal blur has almost completely cured my headaches. I thought the round lenses were pretty lame but I get a lot of compliments on the look of the glasses from people that don't know about their technical qualities, so I've come around.

Re:Meh. (2)

stevenrowat (1420493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852086)

I have the Superfocus "Truefocals" Astonishingly, they work. I'm wearing them right now. I couldn't have continued computer work without them. I searched and read everything, and decided to try them: good company, full 100% refund for 30 days when I bought them (and they pay shipping both ways). I'm getting so I use them for many other things -- woodworking, reading small print on physical manuals. They're 50% heavier than normal glasses. But the bottom line is: they work. I can adjust to any distance just by touching the slider. I wear them 8 hours a day; have for about six months now. If I broke them I'd buy another pair immediately.

!LCD (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34850912)

I seem to be missing the display part of this supposed LCD.

Re:!LCD (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851436)

Pretend it stands for "Device" and move on.

Lots of naysayers... (3, Insightful)

bjk002 (757977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851114)

on this thread, but I would think a bunch of nerds would appreciate the technological triumph, not belabor the deficiencies / hurdles that remain.

Perhaps the price-point is ridiculous, but as any professionals know the price drops with economies of scale.

From my perspective, this represents a viable first step toward the elimination of glasses all together. I'm thinking contact lenses with micro generators like this [] . OK, maybe not today, but tomorrow?

Re:Lots of naysayers... (1)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853826)

on this thread, but I would think a bunch of nerds would appreciate the technological triumph, not belabor the deficiencies / hurdles that remain.

Perhaps the price-point is ridiculous, but as any professionals know the price drops with economies of scale.


Plus Apple might pick this tech up when it's more viable and make an even better product out of it.

I could use some iGlasses while reading the ridiculously small screen on the new iPod nano.

Re:Lots of naysayers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34854022)

Are you thinking of implanting them surgically? Because if so, I'm fairly certain that a) they already do lens replacement with non-electronic versions, and b) laser eye surgery can correct most of the problems that I would expect these to correct.

If you're not thinking of implanting them surgically, any contacts will suffer from the problems of putting them in and taking them out that keep me from getting contacts now, so I hardly see this as a step towards the elimination of glasses.

Headline is misleading (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851206)

These are bifocals when switched on. The only difference is that they allow you to switch them out of bifocal mode.

Mod parent up. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851736)

Mod parent up.

The Jerk (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851270)

Opti-Grab 2.0 FTW!!

Much easier and better solution (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851328)

A much better solution is contacts for distance vision and some cheap reading glasses. Can I patent this?

Re:Much easier and better solution (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852170)

No, thats a 'different' solution, not necessarily a 'better' one. Many cases where that would be non-optimal:
Person can't wear/doesn't like contacts.
You're in front of a screen for 8/10/12 hrs a day, hence reading glasses, hence why am I wearing contacts for all that time?
Now I have to manage two sets of aux eyeballs - glasses and contacts.

Personally, I like this adjustable concept. Give it a little time to mature, and we'll see.

electricity...batteries... (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851378)

I wonder how big the batteries will need to be to balance style and weight with the need to recharge the glasses. People will not be too receptive to something like this if they have to recharge it on a daily basis or if it as bulky as the powered 3d glasses. That seems like a significant hurdle that will need to be overcome before these are even remotely practical.

Re:electricity...batteries... (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851532)

Recharging at night while sleeping wouldn't be that bad. If they rig it with induction-charging it might not be too bad at all. Just set the glasses on the mat at night.

Re:electricity...batteries... (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852854)

Recharging at night would be fine, but you would be needing to get sixteen hours of work out of six or eight hours of charge - I'd hate to have to tell my boss "sorry, can't work - my glasses are dead".

Re:electricity...batteries... (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853258)

Most phones can do that. If they could at some point make it behave like e-ink, that would reduce the consumption of power. Granted the battery in question would have to be much smaller. Also, I'm not sure if I'd want a battery that close to my head all the time...

driving (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851386)

Can't wait for it to fail and switch to reading-mode while doing 70mph on the freeway.

Might be a start (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851576)

....and it's probably sufficient for many people.

That said, having something that could automatically adjust projection on the retina would be better for most people.....glasses with automatically adjusting correction, based on whatever the lens is doing, not just what direction the glance is focused.

Still, even that wouldn't be help for people like me; refractive correction is one thing, understanding how the nerves transmit that information is anoteher thing. (Optic neuritis is a symptom of another medical condition I have. Even getting corrective lenses is difficult, because it's tough to figure out whether the blurry vision is due to ON, or a refractive problem. Complicating matters is unpredictable eye movement....)

Please change the whole lens (1)

moloney (197410) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851652)

In addition to my bifocals, I also have a pair of "computer" glasses. These have a single prescription focused slightly farther than reading glasses. When working on a computer with two monitors, these allow me to just move my eyes to look at different parts of the screen. With bifocals, I have to move my entire head, which is highly annoying.

If the emPower! glasses could change the whole lens, I could manually turn them on and work on the computer with my head up. When not on the computer, I could turn them off and let the accelerometer select far/near focus based on my head being up/down.

YOu YFAIL IT!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851664)

is the worst oof And she ran Play parties the We''l be able to

Speaking as a bifocals wearer (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851698)

The tech is cool, but I don't see the advantage to this. Or, I should say, the inherent disadvantage (it needs some sort of active switch, either mechanical or acceleration-based) outweighs the single small advantage I can think of (I used to like laying my head back and watching TV through the lower part of my glasses - can't do that with bifocals).

Seriously - this looks like a solution in search of a problem.

Re:Speaking as a bifocals wearer (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852812)

Well, put a zoom on this, maybe a camera, and I'd be a happy camper.

My biggest pet peeve about wearing glasses is that they'll only correct you to 20/20 (in the hopes that your eyes will fix themselves over time). I've been wearing glasses for almost thirty years now. It's a safe bet that I'll always need them, so why not start giving me 20/15 lenses at least?

Re:Speaking as a bifocals wearer (1)

Seedy2 (126078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854508)

I have found that, when talking to folks who claim to have 20/20, I always have better vision with my glasses.
People complain about the size of the font I use on the screen, when I'm not using the bottom of the bifocal to read it.
I tell them to get their eyes checked, they claim to have 20/20 vision.
They are in denial and/or my eyes are just better, corrected, than theirs.

What I cannot comprehend why someone would be willing to accept worse vision to go a couple for years without glasses, then need glasses anyway. (i.e. laser surgery)
And maybe hose up their night vision permanently.
Of course I've had glasses since I was 10, so I'm used to them. And they've only gotten better over the 30+ years since then.
I have tried trifocals and progressive lenses and they both give me significant distortion issues. (and "seasickness")
So I'll stick with the nice, big secondary region, lined bifocal.

I like the idea of changing the WHOLE lens "near instantly" to whatever you need to focus on, but that tech may be a bit long in coming.
And the whole battery thing would be a bad thing at failure time, possibly.
We just need the S-F authors to solve it for us. :)

Glasses (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851788)

After wearing glasses all my life I have to say bifocals would be cheaper and easier to replace. Also bifocals don't have much trouble with water when you have a clean towel or napkin around. As cool as electronic glasses would be to me, I'd much rather wear ordinary glasses for the simplicity and ease of use.

dSLR Lens (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852130)

Does this mean I'll get an undistorted F/1 10-1000mm lens for under 1k€ in the next 5 years?

Wobble Goggles!!!! (1)

bobwoodard (92257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852262)

Ok, can you tell I watch the Disney Channel with my toddler?? My first thought was "Wobble Goggles" from the Imagination Movers! :-)

Cool but (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852276)

Will my health insurance cover the cost?

When are we going to see a Total Gym story? (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852308)

I mean Chuck Norris loves the Total Gym, it's a product that you can sell with one of these infomercial stories. Why don't we have a story about it?

Feeling old (4, Insightful)

kabloom (755503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852358)

This probably doesn't solve the main problem of bifocals, which is that people who need to wear them for the first time will still feel old. Graded lenses without the line that's visible to other people didn't solve that problem, and technologically cool LCD glasses won't either.

I use Superfocus too (1)

heydan (112791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852392)

I use Superfocus glasses and like them better than any other option. They change the whole lens, not just one spot like Pixel Optics does. Also, being manual, they don't require any batteries. Without these glasses, I used to have to carry a second pair just for reading. Superfocus is better.

Batery Life (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852594)

I don't think I will be able to handle glasses constantly needing to be charged.

Some people need their glasses to drive - with flat batteries, we don't want people suddenly becoming blind on our roads.

On the plus side, assuming that these are electronically adjustable, they may work out cheaper - As we age and our eyes get worse, are we going to be able to change the settings to incerase the glasses strength?

No Thanks (1)

gamrillen (1972402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852628)

I've been wearing glasses since I was in the third grade and don't really see a need for this product. Not everything needs to be digitally enhanced. Additionally, once nuclear armegeddon strikes, I don't want my vision to be impacted. I'm going to have to be able to see those zombies.

What, no 3d? (2)

fl_litig8r (904972) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852646)

If you're going to add whiz-bang technology to glasses, why not go the full monty and add a 3d polarized mode for movie-going four-eyeses? Why not throw in a "sunglasses mode" while you're at it? For $1200, I'd expect more features.

What about spare batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852842)

My first thought on reading this was:

        If you apply power to obtain close-up vision, how do I figure out which end is up on my plug/button cell/whatever when I need to recharge the glasses?

Upon reading the article I discovered that this is a moot point because they use an inductive charger. While that's pretty cool on the gadget factor, it also means that you can't carry a spare battery with you. What happens when you forget to charge them up? Do you just spend most of the day being illiterate?

If you have to carry around a spare set of glasses to deal with this problem then you haven't really gained much.

Plain old Mechanical vs. Electronic (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852966)

I'm more worried about things look like when these go "bluescreen"

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