Machine Design

Smart Shades Change Color on Demand

Imagine looking at the world through rose colored glasses - or if you are not feeling so optimistic, change the color to blue or green, without ever buying new shades.

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

Photo Courtesy University of Washington and Chunye Xu
That's right, researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle developed sunglasses that let wearers change the color of their lenses to virtually any hue of the rainbow.

Lenses on the glasses change color instantly when users turn a small knob (powered by a battery) on the frame. The knob then dials up the desired color. The lenses feature an electrochromic polymer that changes levels of darkness and color in the presence of an electric current.

The glasses only need power when they switch colors and, can be made to resemble regular sunglasses so they should cost about the same, says one researcher. However, because further research is required, practical versions of the smart sunglasses won't be available for another year or two.

More Information:
University of Washington Seattle

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