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March 10, 2016 4:10 pm

Israeli Startup Creates Lenses That Track Pupils, Adjust to Distance (VIDEO)

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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The omnifocal glasses (pictured) developed by Deep Optics. Photo: Deep Optics.

The omnifocal glasses (pictured) developed by Deep Optics. Photo: Deep Optics.

An Israeli startup is developing glasses that automatically adjust to help the wearer focus on objects both far away and close up.

The Omnifocals, developed by the Petah Tikvah-based company Deep Optics, has two optical sensors (and a battery) built into the frame, which track the wearer’s pupils to determine the exact distance he or she is trying to focus on. Within a fraction of a second, an electrical signal is sent to the see-through, liquid crystal layer in the lenses, which automatically adjusts the focal length to give the wearer clear vision. The lenses continue to change the focal length of the whole lens as a person looks around.

If the glasses run out of power or are turned off, the liquid crystal is automatically set to focus into the distance, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, which first reported on the new technology.

“The user doesn’t have to control it, doesn’t have to look through a specific area of the lens,” Deep Optics Co-founder and Chief Executive Yariv Haddad told MIT Technology Review. “[They] just have to look through the glasses as they would with any glasses prior to that.”

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The liquid crystal layer bends light when an electrical current passes through it, causing the lens’ focal length to change. Liquid crystal has been used in glasses before, but wearers needed to touch a button to switch the lenses to a precise prescription, the Daily Mail reported. Deep Optics said its technology is going beyond that.

‘To imitate natural vision, we need a lens that can change its optical power without changing its physical structure. Liquid crystal technology allows us to do just that,” the company said. “Liquid crystal is a matter that can effectively change its refractive index as a result of induced electronic voltage. By inducing a voltage profile on a liquid crystal (LC) layer, we can obtain a gradient of local refraction indices that generate a lens.”

Glasses-wearers who may be frustrated changing specs for different uses, or wearing multifocals, will appreciate the new lenses, which Deep Optics said come in a “large variety of frame designs.” The glasses especially cater to those suffering from presbyopia, a condition that progressively diminishes a person’s ability to focus on near objects, which typically occurs during the eye’s natural aging process. The first signs of presbyopia are usually seen in those between the ages of 40 and 50.

Most people suffering from the condition need either to wear specific reading glasses, bifocals or varifocal lenses in order to correct their vision. The latter two use lenses that require the wearer to look at a certain spot on the lens in order to see clearly. Many people who wear bifocal or varifocal lenses complain of feeling nauseated, the Daily Mail noted.

Deep Optics is currently working on a basic prototype of the Omnifocals. The company hopes it can testing the glasses on patients within two years.

Watch the video below to see how the Omnifocals work.

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  • “Suffer” is a bit of a strong word for people who have presbyopia (everyone, eventually). May this be the worst thing that ever happens to them.

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