Utah Patent of the Month – November 2020

People all over the world suffer from reduced vision and have to wear glasses. Those of us who need both distance and near glasses know that two separate pairs of glasses are a nuisance, and bifocals or progressives are a compromise between convenience and quality of vision. Worse yet, your prescription can change over the years. So you end up buying glasses over and over. The University of Utah’s research foundation has been working on making variable focus lenses that can change to suit your needs.

Variable focus lenses would be made with a liquid filled chamber formed by two membranes. A piston-actuator combination would deform the membranes when activated. Deformation of the membranes changes the focal length of the lens. These lenses are mounted in a frame which contains an object-distance sensor. This sensor would measure the distance between an object and the lenses. A second sensor designed to track eye position would determine where the wearer is looking. Both sensors would help determine what focal length is needed in that moment. These smart lenses would allow you to have a full field of vision whether driving, reading, or walking around – all without carrying two pairs of glasses everywhere.

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