April 5, 2006 in Nation/World

Battery-powered lens offers new view on glasses

Newsday The Spokesman-Review
 

Researchers have developed a flat, liquid crystal lens they say will revolutionize the way we see.

The diffractive eyeglass lens, powered by a tiny battery, changes focusing power in about one second, allowing for both far and near vision use of the entire lens area, said Guoqiang Li, co-author and assistant research professor at the University of Arizona, where the technology was developed.

Li said the new lenses rely on a series of tiny, transparent electrodes that control the optical properties of a thin layer of liquid crystal trapped between two layers of glass.

The findings are published in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“On the planet, over 90 percent of the population 45 years and older have difficulty reading, but their distance vision is OK,” Li said. “The current bifocal lenses are divided … so when people are driving they are not using the bifocal lens. Our lens, with the focusing power, allows them to use the whole lens for different vision tasks at the same time.”


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