Apple Glasses could adjust lenses to match prescriptions

Apple Glasses could potentially be used by people that need vision correction, with lenses that adjust to match the wearer’s prescription.

"Apple Glasses" designed by Martin Hajek for iDrop News
“Apple Glasses” concept designed by Martin Hajek for iDrop News

Malcolm Owen for AppleInsider:

The concept of smart glasses runs into a problem when it comes to people who normally wear glasses to see. Those who can wear contact lenses could feasibly use a typical smart glasses setup without too much issue, but those who have to wear glasses can end up in trouble.

In a patent granted to Apple on Tuesday titled “Tunable and foveated lens systems,” Apple suggests that smart glasses or a headset could potentially adjust its lenses to correct the wearer’s vision. In effect, the hardware would be usable without requiring the user to wear glasses with prescription lenses at all, nor have any long-term changes to the setup that cannot quickly be changed.

Apple’s proposal is to use a stack of lenses for each eye, which can be a liquid crystal adjustable lens along with a non-liquid-crystal adjustable lens, such as a fluid-filled lens or an Alvarez lens. The liquid crystal lens could include multiple cells filled with voltage-modulated optical material, sandwiched between transparent substrates and surrounded by electrodes.

MacDailyNews Take: No more bifocals, Apple Glasses like these would be infinityfocals!

Even with no AR apps in use, the ability to adjust to the user’s vision requirements, potentially on the fly, would be worth the price of admission for those with less than perfect eyesight.

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  1. “Even with no AR apps in use, the ability to adjust to the user’s vision requirements, potentially on the fly, would be worth the price of admission”

    Absolutely MDN. Though I was keeping an open mind based on what the end user experience result would ultimately be, “AR glasses” weren’t a visceral draw for me. But if they’ll also adjust lenses based on the user vision, wow, that changes everything for me. It moves into a must have.

  2. Thank god! Finally a valuable reason to buy Apple Glasses – you never have to buy another set, just adjust them accordingly. This is WAY more interesting than any notification bullshit. Here it is, folks. Version 1.0

  3. If the glasses can adjust to simulate aspheric lenses, then I’m very interested. Aspheric lenses give a better image. While many people cannot notice the difference between standard spheric lenses and aspheric lenses, I and many, many others can. For me, going from spheric to aspheric costs about $400 more per pair, but to me it’s worth it.

    If the lenses can adjust to give optimal correction based upon the distance to the object viewed, e.g. by the use of LIDAR or other range detection capability, then bifocals and trifocals become a thing of the past.

    Also, if the lenses can go from virtually transparent to > 90% panchromatic light blocking, people could just have one pair and no more inside versus outside (sun) glasses.

    Unfortunately, it’s easy to get a patent on an implementation that can be built, but is so difficult to build or so costly to build that the implementation patented never gets to the public. I hope this time Apple can actually pull it off.

    IF Apple could pull off all of the above they would end up with a product more ubiquitous than the iPhone and Apple Watch and Mac.

    1. Given the complexity and expense of the tech you’ve described, I doubt Apple will take this course. Most people don’t need their prescriptions changed more than a few times in their entire lives. It would make much more sense to have prescription lenses made to order for each user (and a clear, non-prescription option).

      Since the style of frames is very personal to the individual, I wonder how Apple will approach this tech. Do they want people wearing it all the time or just for particular use cases? Assuming the former then there will have to be a lot of customizability with the frames like with Apple Watch bands/sizes/colors. Ideally they look like regular glasses. They will have to work very hard for me to give up my trusty Ray-Ban frames.

      1. Our optical prescription actually fluctuates more frequently than you might imagine, especially as we age. Near vision is especially difficult as the lens loses its ability to accommodate. Lenses that can precisely adapt to meet our changing acuity would be brilliant.

  4. Doubtful, unless people want to wear the thing optometrist used to find your prescription 🤪 And it’s doesn’t make sense, because only one person will typically wear each Glasses. Why add that extra complexity and associated cost to product? People who don’t wear glasses won’t even need that capability. But self-adjusting prescription glasses would be very cool 😎

    1. I would think the initial calibration of any vision correction function would include something like a volume control interface allowing far less complexity in the sense of automatically determining a user’s requirements.

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