High Tech Glasses Are Changing the Way We Look at Eyewear
Eyeglasses are one of the most common items in the world. But now, they’re being re-invented with high tech features. These innovative glasses are changing the way we live.
These sleek frames do just about everything a smart pair should do. They include a camera for taking pictures and recording video, Bluetooth to play music and podcasts, voice control for your assistant, and even notification alerts.
The days of bifocals or constantly swapping out reading glasses may be numbered. A team led by University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Carlos Mastrangelo is working on a pair of smart glasses with liquid lenses that can automatically adjust their focus, depending on whether the wearer is looking at something far away or close up.
The team’s prototype glasses consist of lenses made of glycerin, a thick clear liquid, enclosed in flexible membranes. A distance meter on the glasses’ bridge uses infrared light to detect nearby objects and calculate their distance from the lens. This information is sent to actuators, which can mechanically move back and forth to change the curvature of the glycerin lenses. The entire process takes just 14 milliseconds.
This isn’t the first time such a technology has been developed. It’s similar to ballistic lenses, which are used in military applications to protect eyes from shrapnel and other projectiles. The high tech glasses UA researchers’ goal is to develop a more comfortable and stylish version of their invention, with less bulky lenses that can fit in the frames of regular glasses.
For the project to be successful, the researchers need to reduce the weight and thickness of their lenses, and they also need to improve their eye-tracking and depth camera capabilities so that the lenses can accurately figure out what the wearer is looking at. But if they can do it, Mastrangelo says the smart glasses could be on the market within two or three years.
Augmented reality (AR)
AR overlays computer-generated images onto your view of the real world. These images may be 3D objects, text, video, or simple diagrams. You can control the AR experience through touch, voice, or other gestures. AR applications typically come with thousands of digital assets to choose from, and you can also create your own.
Unlike virtual reality (VR), which immerses you in a virtual space, AR uses software to interpret your environment and overlay digital content on top of it. For example, a pair of glasses might display a live map of your location, along with arrows and icons that direct you to nearby attractions. It can even give you a virtual walking tour of the place you are visiting.
In healthcare, AR can help doctors practice procedures without risking the lives of patients. A company called AccuVein, for instance, uses AR to project images of veins on a patient’s arm, making it easier to insert IVs. Similarly, neurosurgeons use AR to aid them in surgeries by projecting 3D models of brains.
The AR technology in high tech glasses combines glass lenses that allow natural light to pass through to your eyes with LED or OLED displays that show computer-generated images. It can be used in different ways, including by a mobile app to superimpose digitised objects from store catalogues and see what they would look like in your home. It is also used by athletes to track their performance, such as speed and power.
Unlike headsets, which require you to take your hands off your smartphone and can be a major distraction, smart glasses allow you to control your device with voice commands. The technology is still in its early stages, but it can help you perform tasks, play music and even read out text messages. Some models also feature facial recognition, allowing them to recognize your voice and react accordingly.
For example, if you are reading a text message and someone tries to interrupt your focus, the glasses will tell you who is trying to get your attention. Other features, like VIP filtering, let you hear only the most important notifications. You can also set your glasses to automatically turn off the ambient microphone when you aren’t talking.
Another exciting development is that smart glasses are able to capture live video and audio. While this technology is still limited, it has the potential to transform our daily lives. Google Glass has already been adapted for medical use, enabling nurses to record home visits. The glasses then transcribe the recording into text that can be shared with colleagues.
Most models are designed with a camera lens and Bluetooth speakers in the arms of the frame. While the frames may taper near your ears like regular glasses, they can then widen to form small speakers that play into your ears. This design is often more comfortable than headphones, and allows wearers to remain aware of their surroundings.
Many high tech glasses are fitted with Bluetooth. This enables them to connect to other devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. The wireless connection allows users to control their smart glasses by voice and to high tech glasses hear music and podcasts, while keeping their hands free. This is particularly useful for commuters who do not want to hold a smartphone or tablet in their hand while on the move.
A pair of smart glasses that can take calls and stream music is a must for anyone who wants to stay connected at all times. Moreover, these glasses can also allow you to view augmented reality (AR) experiences and play 3D games on the go. The Nreal Air is a good example of such high-tech glasses. They are splash-resistant and come with tinted lenses and blue-light-filtering options. They can also be used to read notifications from your phone, make and receive calls, and adjust your home’s smart devices.
Another great option is the Amazon Echo Frames, which are essentially glasses that bring Amazon Alexa with you on the go. They can check your calendar, send text messages, call friends and family, adjust all the Alexa-connected smart devices in your house, and play music and podcasts. The frames look very similar to normal sunglasses and are comfortable to wear, with a design that prevents the display from being visible. They are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 chip and come in a range of colors.