Smartglasses that automatically focus on what you are looking at by tracking your EYE give new hope to people with blurry visionJuly 5, 2019
A pair of smartglasses that automatically focus on objects which could be used by people with a variety of vision defects have been developed by researchers.
Called ‘Autofocals’, the glasses use depth-sensing cameras and eye-tracking technology which promise to keep objects in hyper-sharp focus at all times.
Presbyopia is a common form of age-induced far-sightedness, where the lenses in the eyes become stiff and have trouble focusing on close-up objects.
The condition typically kicks in at around age 45 and it affects more than a billion people and a key factor as to why many need to wear glasses in middle age.
But a Stanford University team have developed a way to treat defects like this, so that when worn they mimic the natural ‘autofocus’ mechanism of a healthy eye.
To carry out unnatural head movements, such as to crane your neck to look at side mirrors while driving, while wearing glasses can be dangerous.
People who wear those lenses are also at higher risk of injury from falls, according to the authors.
The prototype glasses use fluid-filled lenses that are able to either bulge or thin as the field of vision changes, by using an electric current.
The eye-tracking sensors to triangulate, or divide into triangular sections, where a person is looking and determine its precise distance.
The smart software then ensures that the objects being viewed are always in focus.
The test subjects reported that the new glasses made it easier to read and do other tasks, compared to regular old progressive lenses.
While the team did not invent the lenses or eye-tracking technology themselves, they did create the special software which brings it all together.
Other similar devices have used the special lenses with motion sensors so they change to the right prescription when the wearer looks up or down, while others have wheels to allow the focus to be adjusted manually.
‘Reading glasses can be cumbersome, because you need to carry them and put them on or off, depending on whether you are looking at an object at a close or far distance,’ assistant professor in Stanford University’s Electrical Engineering Department, Gordon Wetzstein told Digital Trends.
‘While this works well for reading, it clearly does not for scenarios like driving.
Bifocals and monovision gives a user clear vision at only two different distances.
Reading glasses the most basic solution to presbyopia, which work reasonably well, but they require a user to take them off to see at a distance.
The researchers hope to make the technology small enough that autofocals will be comfortable to wear all day.
Mr Wetzstein says it will take some time before we see autofocal glasses that are energy efficient, lightweight.
They hope to pack the smart glasses tech into normal-looking frames, to make them more stylish for a wearer.