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The future of eyeglasses, part 2

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In part one we looked at the innovation in eyeglasses that has gotten the most ink, Google Glass. Other companies are also creating computing eyewear, but for specific individual purposes.

Recon Instruments, for example, is developing smart glasses for skiers, who will be able to see their speed, elevation and distance, among other data, right inside their ski goggles.

Another futuristic type of glasses is being developed by 2AI Labs. Their O2Amps are designed to detect changes in the blood flow to a person’s face. The blood flow indicates their emotional state, as well as possible bruising or other trauma below the skin.

Doctors and nurses would find this application useful, as would law-enforcement personnel, poker players and the spouse whose partner has come home suspiciously late.

However, none of these glasses are prescription eyeglasses that will correct or improve your vision. Google Glass and all of these other smart glasses will have to be worn over prescription eyeglasses or be configured to include the wearer’s prescription.

No, for innovations in prescription eyewear, the main focus, as it were, is on glasses that replace progressives or bifocals. Some people just can’t get used to having their distance and reading prescriptions (bifocals) or their distance, computer and reading prescriptions (progressives) in one lens.

These multifocal glasses will be right for them. They have lenses that go from distance to computer to reading vision all at the touch of a button, slider or dial, like the focus knob on a pair of binoculars.

Here’s how it works.

They outfit a pair of glasses with outer and inner lenses. The outer lens has distance vision, and the inner lens contains liquid. One company uses a slider on the bridge of the eyeglasses that activates the inner, liquid-containing lens.

By adjusting this slider, you can adjust the eyeglasses’ correction to the type of vision you need: distance, intermediate or near vision. It changes the shape of the lens not unlike the way a makeup or shaving mirror can be rotated for a magnified image.

Another company is also using two lenses per eye. But instead of a slider, it is embedding a processor chip in the glasses to change the focus automatically when the wearer’s head tilts, or when the wearer touches a button on the frame.

Wanna save money and share your glasses with your mate? With these glasses, eyeglasses wearers can program two different prescriptions, so a family member can wear them when the other person is asleep or wearing a different pair of glasses.

At more than $1,000 per pair, it is unlikely that these glasses will catch on with the eyeglasses-wearing public, which is just getting hip to buying their eyeglasses at steep discounts from online retailers.

Not only that, but some domestic squabbles might ensue if both parties want to wear the glasses at the same time. At least the high price should serve as an eyeglasses tug-of-war deterrent. But check out part three, for an important vision correction that these eyeglasses do not provide.

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