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The future of eyeglasses, part 4

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Parts one, two and three examined various forms of eyeglasses that are mini-computers, such as Google Glasses, or provide auto-focus vision to give the wearer distance, intermediate, and near vision with the adjustment of a dial or touch of a button.

But some new-fangled eyeglasses are mostly for fun. If you were in high school or college in the late 1960s, you may recall light boxes.

Kids would hook their record players up to these light boxes, which looked a bit like speakers, but they had little colored bulbs.

The bulbs would light up and the light boxes would change color, depending on the rhythm and melody of the music that was being played. All over America, kids would crank up the Grateful Dead, fire up a doobie, stare at the light box and murmur “Far out!”

Now a startup is creating eyeglasses that will function the same way as a light box, only on your face.
The glasses, called DropShades, light up and change colors based on the music that’s being played where the glasses are being worn. Presumably the glasses, which feature slats rather than full lenses, would turn bright, racy colors during a rock concert but display sedate pastels when the wearer is listening to elevator music.

Along these same lines, there’s a new kind of glasses being developed for those who want to be a character in a Beatles song, specifically the Girl (or Boy) with Kaleidoscope Eyes, a.k.a. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

Now you can be, with a trippy pair of eyeglasses made by a company called Future Eyes. These glasses don’t correct your vision. They mess it up, giving you the vision of an insect. That’s useful if you want to dodge a flyswatter, or simply space out. They’re not so great for driving.

Eyeglasses like these are mostly for artistic types, to help them see the world in a new way, to inspire their creative vision.

But one of the most promising innovations is not in eyeglasses, but in eye exams. A company called EyeNetra has created a smartphone app that enables you to do your own eye exam when you attach its eye examining device to your smartphone.

Finally, as the internet has shrunken the four corners of the globe to a village, people all over the world can now communicate with each other for business and pleasure.

In addition, people of various backgrounds who immigrate to countries with diverse populations, such as the U.S., need to be able to understand and be understood by people who do not speak the language or languages in which they are fluent.

In this regard, Microsoft is boldly going where no man (or woman) has gone before. The company is working on a nonfiction version of the “Star Trek”-inspired universal translator, which will instantly translate the speaker’s language to the wearer’s.

That’s the way to live long and prosper!



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