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New eyeglass lenses go from clear to shaded when you want them to

The new lenses use small electrical impulses to match a huge range of hues available in regular sunglasses. The process of going from clear to shaded or back again can be done in seconds and it is all under the control of the wearer.

According to the study, the scientists said, “We have created a set of brown ECP blends that can be incorporated as the active material in user-controlled electrochromic eyewear.”

The researchers report that the process they used to make the lenses can be scaled up for mass production of the next generation lenses. One can only imagine how these lenses will look on the the new Oakley Frogskins.

“Upon oxidation, all of the created blends exhibit a change in transmittance from ca. 10 to 70% in a few seconds. We demonstrate the attractiveness of these ECP blends as active materials in electrochromic eyewear by assembling user-controlled, high-contrast, fast-switching, and fully solution-processable electrochromic lenses with colorless transmissive states and colored states that correspond to commercially available sunglasses,” the study continued. “The lenses were fabricated using a combination of inkjet printing and blade-coating to illustrate the feasibility of using soluble ECPs for high-throughput and large-scale processing.”

The study was led by Anna Österholm, a research scientist at the Reynolds Research Group at Georgia Tech, who has pointed out that the current generation of transitional lenses don’t come close to meeting the needs of the user. The new lenses transition faster and the ability of the user to control the shade means that the lenses can be darkened even when the wearer is in shade or exposed to indirect light.

In addition to being a boon to consumers, there are also safety applications that would benefit from glasses that transition in seconds and can be adjusted to the wearers needs. Pilots, rescue workers and anyone who has had their lenses lighten because they are wearing a hat or enter the shade could use the technology to work better, safer and faster.

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