Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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New Technologies Add Flexibility to Eyewear

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Eyewear has become influenced by the tech world, including glasses that can project a computer screen, talk to you and ones with removable lenses. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.

There's much more flexibility, both literally and figuratively, these days when choosing a pair of eye glasses, and often times, you have technology to thank for that.

At this year's International Vision Expo East, NY1 saw lots of glasses with integrated cameras, sensors and computers, most notably Google's Glass. And proving just how close these devices are getting to mainstream, VSP, the company that supplies so many Americans with eye care insurance, was at the conference, training around 250 of its in-network optometrists, with the hope of adding 2,000 more by the end of the year, on how to properly fit Google Glass for customers who already wear prescription glasses.

"It projects an image of a computer screen about five feet out in front of you, so you have to make sure that the lenses are tuned to that exact distance and you're able to effectively use the glass," says Jim McGrann, president of VSP Vision Care.

There are even glasses here for people with low to almost no vision. OrCam will talk to users and tell them what they're looking at, even read for them.

"Whatever the picture is, it takes the picture, analyzes it right here in this small little computer, processes it and then brings it back up and whispers in your ear," says Rhys Filmer of OrCam Technologies.

And finally, for a non-digital type of glasses technology, you've probably heard of Transitions that automatically get darker when you go out in the sun or sunglasses that you put on top of prescription glasses. Next up, though, glasses that allow you to pop out the lenses and, on the fly, pop in new ones.

They're appropriately called Switch Eyewear.

"If it's cloudy out or sunny out, you can pretty much tailor it with the right tint lens from bifocals to progressives to single vision," says Ken Slattery of Liberty Sport.

Developers say that the lenses, which snap into place with earth core magnets, were tested to stay in place in up to 90-mile-per-hour winds.

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