See the world through Autofocals

automatically modify and adjust their focus eyeglasses

It becomes extremely challenging to focus on objects as we grow older since the lenses of our eyes become stiffer. This condition is called Presbyopia, and it is generally managed by progressive lenses and reading glasses. However, these options only work if and when the user’s head is directed towards the particular area of focus.

Recently, a group of engineers working at Stanford University developed glasses that can automatically modify and adjust their focus based on wherever the eyes are directed at.  Currently, the glasses look like a pair of cyborg’s headset, but according to the researchers they can possibly be scaled down to a practical model with easy usability. 

The glasses have eye trackers that continuously monitor where the user’s vision is directed towards. The glasses contain a distance sensor pointed at the front of the eyes that is used to monitor the distance of the focus object from the user. Thereafter, the lenses are designed to be able to tweak their shape by pushing liquid in and out of their inside; this way, they automatically switch their point of focus in accordance with the intended target.

Even though the eye trackers, the lenses and other individual components have been developed by other teams in the past, the new technology integrates all these parts and pieces together to form a coherent operational device dubbed by the researchers as “autofocals.”

According to Stanford electrical engineer Gordon Wetzstein who worked on the new device, over a billion people across the world suffer from presbyopia. The researchers have developed a pair of autofocal lenses that have the practical potential of correcting the vision of presbyopic people far more effectively as compared to traditional glasses. Wetzstein emphasised how this new technology has the power to meaningfully affect the lives of millions of people around the globe; something that most techno-gadgets can only dream of doing.

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