If your bulky bifocals make you feel more math dork than sexy librarian, get set to toss them for electronic peepers with real specs appeal. Developed by PixelOptics, a technology firm in Roanoke, VA, the emPower uses lenses that alter their prescription whenever a small electronic current passes through them. The trick? A layer of liquid crystal, sandwiched inside each lens, that shifts its refractive properties in response to being zapped, adjusting the focal length to wherever you’re looking.
BE SEEING YOU
Depending on how far you need to see, the emPower can be adjusted manually with a tap of a button on the side of the frames. Plus, unlike traditional bifocals, the high-tech spectacles offer a range of settings between “near” and “far,” as well as less peripheral distortion than typical progressive lenses.
Depending on how far you need to see, the emPower can be adjusted manually with a tap of a button.
You can also set the glasses to sharpen your vision automatically through embedded motion sensors—the same kind that you’ll find in the iPhone—which detect subtle head movements such as tilting your chin down to read a book or newspaper.
Almost a decade in the making, the emPower is currently undergoing trials, although it’s likely to launch in the United States by year’s end, according to PixelOptics. Astigmatic Brits can expect it by the middle of 2011.