Summer is upon us (well, in the Northern hemisphere, at least), which means we’re all dusting off our sunglasses. But for those of us that have a prescription, there are only a few options that ensure you can still see where you’re going. And it’s even worse for glasses wearers that need to deal with presbyopia, the age-related reduction in near vision.
For many, contact lenses are one answer. For those who have differing abilities to see objects close versus far away, sometimes the only solution is to switch from sunglasses to reading glasses or remove your eyewear completely and deal with the glare and sunlight. For a few, prescription sunglasses, sometimes with bifocal or multifocal lenses, are the answer.
Today, DeepOptics is launching its crowdfunding campaign to bring a tech-based solution to this problem. And this issue is significant – there are 1.8 billion people worldwide with presbyopia. The eye condition typically occurs in people over the age of 45 and gets progressively worse.
DeepOptics 32°N sunglasses (pronounced “32 North”) dynamically correct for reading while serving as functional sunglasses. The glasses mimic natural human vision, allowing users to seamlessly switch between “reading mode” for near vision and “scenic mode” for far distances, just by touching the arm of the glasses.
So how do the sunglasses work?
32°N uses pixelated liquid crystal layers that are split into tiny pixels, capable of rotating at every point of the panel. When the user swipes, they activate the tiny processor embedded in the glasses’ temple. The processor calculates the user’s personal data and sends that data to form the desired lens prescription.
Millions of tiny pixels inside the lens change their electrical state according to the new data to form the lens and bring the close object into focus. The company claims the operation is completely silent and without adding extra weight versus regular sunglasses. In addition, there are no moving parts. Each full charge of 32°N lasts for a full day.
“32°N can be fully charged in 3 hours,” Yariv Haddad, CEO and cofounder at DeepOptics, told me. “32°N function as regular sunglasses when magnification is not enabled, which is a good percentage of the time. Therefore, our estimate of one full day of battery is based on roughly 8 hours of usage of magnification.”
While the company is funding this particular product on Kickstarter, it is not new to the market. Founded in 2011, the company has been working on solutions that use technology to solve issues the industry has previously solved with advancements in lenses. The promise of a single lens solution that can be altered by affecting liquid crystals is certainly appealing for anyone that wears spectacles. And while the full retail price of 32°N will put it in the top end of a pair of bifocal or multifocal glasses (especially for those with a high prescription, as they often have to pay extra for “thin” lenses), it could be the only pair of glasses you’ll need to buy for years.
“The manufacturer suggested retail price will be around $449,” Haddad said. “However, those ‘early birds’ who back our project on Kickstarter can purchase 32°N for only $229. Other deals on the Kickstarter page will offer glasses between $249 and $349 depending on the amount and color.”
What’s next for DeepOptics?
“DeepOptics has an aggressive product roadmap that includes vision correction at far distances, a product that functions as indoor glasses (not sunglasses), and eventually our technology will be used with eye-tracking technology to detect the user’s distance of interest and correct vision automatically and continuously,” Haddad said. “The company also targets certain medical applications that can benefit from dynamic focal glasses treatment, as well as integrate its lenses into AR/VR headsets.”
DeepOptics’ Kickstarter campaign starts today and runs for 45 days.