Friday, February 18, 2011

emPower, the World's First Electronic Focusing Eyewear... coming soon to Bedford Eye Care Centre!

by Matthew Humphries of

If you wear eyeglasses then you know they can’t be perfect in all situations. You have a prescription that solves a problem such as long or short sightedness, but you still find yourself looking over the top of the glasses or having trouble focusing through them for certain viewing tasks.

PixelOptics has turned to technology in order to solve that problem, and claim to have produced some rather intelligent eyewear that automatically adjusts the prescription based on what you are trying to look at.

The new glasses are called emPower. They use a combination of a micro-accelerometer, chip, and small rechargeable battery embedded into the frame of the glasses. That setup controls an LCD layer which covers both lenses.

The accelerometer is used to tell when the wearer tilts their head forwards or backwards, and if in automatic mode, will adjust the lens output to suit. Tilting the head forwards suggests trying to read something so the lower reading area of each lens is activated. Tilt your head back up and the reading area is disabled giving the wearer a clear view in distance mode.

The switching between these modes only takes 7ms making it almost instant. Although a full-automatic mode exists, the wearer can swipe the touch-sensitive frame and switch to manual mode giving them more control.

As the reading area of prescription eyewear is only thought to be used 30-40% of the time, PixelOptics believe emPower will give wearers a much better experience as they don’t have to put up with blurry areas in their vision due to permanent reading areas. They are instead only there when you need them.

The emPower eyewear requires power and therefore ships with a charging cradle it can be placed in when not in use. A single charge is meant to give up to 3 days of use, though. They are also waterproof and have a transitions lens option for those who want them to double as sunglasses. When it comes to frames PixelOptics has turned to well-known eyewear company Aspex who will provide 48 frames in plastic, metal, or memory metal options.

emPower is expected to be available from April this year. As for price, nothing has been confirmed yet, but they will carry a premium of about 30% over the more typical prescription eyewear we buy putting them at around the $1,200 mark.

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