In I-Health: How intelligent electronics improve our quality of life, Part 1, I described a few possible applications of an electronic smart lamp. One proposal was to program the lamp to simulate light conditions of a 24-hour day to help a doctor analyze a patient’s biorhythms. Another scenario straight from the sci-fi channel: programming the light conditions of a nearby planet to simulate and analyze the long-term biorhythmic changes an astronaut would experience on that planet’s surface. Who doesn’t want to find out what it’s like to live on Mars’ time, without leaving the comfort of your own planet?
For now, let’s peer through some rose-colored Smart I-Glasses…
Our proposed ‘Smart I-Glasses’ might be defined as glasses that auto-focus depending on the distance users are from their target objects, or they could be glasses that allow people to view cross-reference information about an actor from the cloud as they watch a movie, for example, or check other stores’ prices for shoes as they navigate a store.
The possibilities are endless, but how would they work?
Smart I-Glasses would first have to be able to dynamically regulate electronic parameters that adapt the lenses to a specific person’s focal length and depth of vision.
Obviously then, our smart glasses project would need an integrated processing unit and some distance sensors to measure the pupillary distance, as well as a microcontroller to calculate the best focal length, which would be set by means of integrated actuators to ensure the best vision for the user. (See Figure 1)
The basic principle of Smart I-Glasses: Two different objects at different distances from the observer, d1 and d2, correspond to two different pupillary distances, that are measured by the integrated proximity sensor and allows the microcontroller to set the two optimal focal distances, f1 and f2, by mean of the actuator. The result of this dynamic and adaptive technique is amazingly clear vision for the user.
As an example, the VL6180X proximity sensor from STMicroelectronics can perform gesture recognition or hand detection to switch glasses on and off, or to monitor light levels. It can also be used in short-distance object and obstacle detection – who wants to run into something while wearing Smart I-Glasses? And if your Smart I-Glasses are equipped with a camera – and whose aren’t – the VL6180X can perform auto-focus assist for those close range images (see Figure 2):
Smart-lens technology presents another very valuable option, particularly in light of our world’s aging population:
A “…potential application is as a novel intervention to help older people who have trouble reading and focusing on close-up objects. The technology could potentially restore the eye's natural autofocus in the form of an accommodative contact lens, or an intraocular lens inserted during refractive cataract treatment.” (Source: optics.org)
What do you think of the Smart I-Glasses project? Do you think that it can really improve a user’s quality of life by dramatically enhancing their vision? Would you buy a pair?