While Oxford professor Joshua Silver invented water-lens eyeglasses in 2008, University of Utah professor Carlos Mastrangelo has apparently developed his own design more recently. Mastrangelo runs his own research lab at U. of U.’s department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his version is hi-tech, unlike Silver’s low-tech design for developing nations.
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Mastrangelo’s design uses piezoelectric tunable glycerin-filled lenses. To start with, the user enters their prescription into an app that communicates with the glasses. The glasses then automatically dial in the prescription. The kicker is that there’s some kind of distance sensor that supposedly continues to adjust the prescription in real time, depending on the distance of what you’re looking at. “This information is provided by a sensor mounted in the bridge of the glasses that uses pulses of infrared light to identify where the user is looking and provide the precise distance,” according to Mastrangelo’s research team.
“The combination of the user’s prescription information and the distance information is used by the algorithm to instantly adjust the shape of the liquid lenses to allow the user to focus on what they are viewing. Remarkably, if the user looks elsewhere, the change in lens shape needed to focus at the new distance is made in a staggering 14 milliseconds—25 times faster than an eye blink.
“‘Theoretically, these would be the only glasses a person would ever have to buy because they can correct the majority of focusing problems,'” says Mastrangelo.
Here’s a look at the prototype: