ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR: Tuesday, March 27, 10:00 a.m., Central Time
Graeme Semple, Ph.D.
San Diego, Calif. 92121
ARTICLE #6 EMBARGOED FOR: Tuesday, March 27, 9:30 a.m., Central Time
Smart sunglass lenses change color on demand
Chemists in Seattle are developing smart sunglasses that will allow the wearer to instantly change the color of their lenses to virtually any hue by tuning a tiny electronic knob in the frame, report Chunye Xu and colleagues.
Through polymer chemistry, weve developed lenses that arent like anything else on the market. This could be the fashion statement of the future, they said. The lenses of the smart sunglasses feature a unique type of electrochromic polymer that has the ability to change levels of darkness and color in the presence of an electric current. Researchers have been developing electrochromic polymers for decades, but Xus lab is one of just a few using the technology to develop improved eyewear.
Xu developed a prototype of the eyewear that demonstrates the feasibility of these color-changing sunglasses. Powered by a tiny battery, the prototype shades resemble a pair of laboratory goggles with a button attached to the frame. Turning the button activates the battery and dials up the desired color, the researcher says. Ultimately, the sunglasses can be manufactured to resemble the size and shape of regular sunglasses and should cost about the same, Xu said.