Instant color-changing lenses are here, are you ready to get fashionable?


Soon you may never have to worry about your sunglasses not matching your shirt again, because a University of Connecticut scientist just designed a way to produce films and displays that change color nearly instantly.

color changing lenses gogglesWhereas the old style of transition lenses use photochromic films that react passively to changing light levels – and weren’t too quick about it – chemistry professor Greg Sotzing’s new design uses a sandwiched pair of films that are reactive to electric current. These electrochromic films can change color as quickly as the current can pass through them. In other words, just about instantly.

Because the films’ color changes are electrically induced, sunglasses or goggles made with them can be both instantaneously reactive to light changes with the use of simple light sensors, or can change color at the user’s discretion.

While it’s a distinct possibility that color-switching sunglasses will come out on the runway in the near future, Sotzing’s film has one of its best applications in the military. Soldiers in rapidly changing environments are currently either stuck with goggles and glasses that aren’t suited for every situation, or time-consuming lens changes. Using electrochromic films eliminates that need, replacing multiple lenses with one always-perfectly-tinted unit.

Sotzing builds his lenses by injecting a binding polymer in between two sheets of the film, which he claims is a cheaper manufacturing process than those used in traditional lens making. This may be a boon to the military, but it’s tough to imagine they’d show up on the consumer market as anything but ridiculously expensive. Still, designer shades aside, eyewear that quickly responds to changing light conditions does seem like an important stepping stone to the utopian future we’ve all been promised. Maybe they’ll even make wearing sunglasses at night cool again. Well, maybe not.


Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Home Theater

QLED and OLED may have similar names, but they're totally different technologies

The names may look almost identical, but OLED and QLED are two entirely different beasts. In our QLED vs. OLED battle, we dissect the differences between these dueling TV technologies, and help determine which might be best for you.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.