Technology

Adaptive eyewear

A new lens allows you to adjust your prescription with the turn of a dial.

You don’t need rose-coloured glasses to see that the future looks bright for Oxford, U.K.-based eyewear specialists, Adlens. Co-founded in 2004 by James Chen and atomic physicist Joshua Silver, and based on Silver’s research, the company has created eyewear that can be adjusted on the spot by the user.

Each lens is made up of a hollow chamber with thin, clear plastic stretched across it. Then the patented silicon is either pushed in our out of the chamber, slightly changing the curvature of the plastic. Sounds complicated? It is as basic as turning a dial. Users put on a pair of glasses with an adjuster attached to each lens. Then they simply tweak the amount of silicon for each eye until their vision is corrected. Partnering with not-for-profit company Adaptive Eyewear for the past six years, Adlens has supplied hundreds of thousands of glasses for the developing world.

The lenses cover nearly all cases of near and far-sightedness, and now the company is turning its attention to the commercial market, where they are currently working on an idea for continuously adjustable reading glasses — as the reader’s needs changes so can the lenses, and they could even be shared with someone else. Now that’s a company with vision.