Auto-focusing glasses?

Auto-focusing glasses?


No more bifocals? It will be so, if a group of researchers has anything to say about it.

You or someone you know wears glasses. Many people who wear glasses have bifocal or varifocal lenses, meaning that they look through different parts of the lenses to see things at different distances. But what if the glasses did everything for you?

A group of scientists at the University of Arizona have created glasses lenses that focus themselves. A group of tiny, transparent electrodes give signals to a layer of liquid crystal inserted between two layers of glass. Less than one second after you look at something, the glasses will switch focal power to whatever is necessary to keep what are looking at in focus.

Sound promising? The scientists think so. The device depends on electricity, of course, even though it runs at a very low voltage. If the electricity source is removed, the glasses are what they would be without the electrodes, normal lenses.

These glasses are rather heavy because of the liquid crystal involved, and that might affect the initial cost and acceptance. However, the promise of self-focusing lenses might well outweigh these difficulties. The future remains to be seen.