Touch-sensitive LCD sunglasses become reading glasses on command
While many people have bifocal everyday glasses, their sunglasses tend to be single-vision. The new 32ºN sunglasses, however, let users switch over to a "reading glasses" mode with a simple swipe of their finger.
Developed by Israeli startup Deep Optics, the 32ºN (pronounced "32 North") specs work as ordinary UV- and blue-blocking sunglasses by default. Farsighted wearers clearly see objects that are far away, just as they would with regular off-the-shelf shades.
However, when users wish to view something close to them – such as a smartphone screen, patio restaurant menu or wristwatch – they just slide the tip of their index finger forward along one touch-sensitive arm of the glasses. Doing so increases the magnifying power of a transparent liquid-crystal-coated section of each lens, allowing the 32ºN's to temporarily function as reading glasses. Swiping back again returns them to single-vision distance mode.
Utilizing an app, users initially set the reading magnification level to their own requirements – this can be adjusted as time goes by. Once that level is set, however, the Bluetooth-enabled glasses can be used without connection to a smartphone. Additionally, because only one part of each lens has the active LCD coating, wearers are still able to look up from it and see into the distance when in reading mode.
According to Deep Optics, one charge of the glasses' lithium-polymer battery should be good for a typical full day of use. And because they only use power when in reading mode, they stay in distance mode if the battery runs out. It should be noted, though, that they don't bring distant objects into focus for nearsighted users.
Should you be interested, the 32ºN sunglasses are presently on Kickstarter. Assuming they reach production, a pledge of US$229 will get you a pair in your choice of three frame colors – the planned retail price is $449. The company is also working on a non-tinted version of the glasses, for everyday indoor and outdoor use.
The 32ºN's are demonstrated in the video below.