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‘Autofocals’ Use Eye-Tracking to Do the Job of Progressive Lenses

Stanford University created a prototype.

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Stanford engineers are testing smart glasses that can automatically focus on whatever you’re looking at. (IMAGE CREDIT: ROBERT KONRAD)

A prototype being developed at Stanford University uses eye-tracking technology to do the job of progressive lenses.

“More than a billion people have presbyopia and we’ve created a pair of autofocal lenses that might one day correct their vision far more effectively than traditional glasses,” said Stanford electrical engineer Gordon Wetzstein. For now, the prototype looks like virtual reality goggles but the team hopes to streamline later versions.

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Wetzstein’s prototype glasses – dubbed autofocals – are intended to solve the main problem with today’s progressive lenses: They require the wearer to align their head to focus properly.

This visual shift can also make it difficult to navigate the world. “People wearing progressive lenses have a higher risk of falling and injuring themselves,” said graduate student Robert Konrad, a co-author on a paper describing the autofocal glasses published June 28 in the journal Science Advances.

The Stanford prototype works much like the lens of the eye, with fluid-filled lenses that bulge and thin as the field of vision changes. It also includes eye-tracking sensors that triangulate where a person is looking and determine the precise distance to the object of interest. The team did not invent these lenses or eye-trackers, but they did develop the software system that harnesses this eye-tracking data to keep the fluid-filled lenses in constant and perfect focus.

Nitish Padmanaban, a graduate student and first author on the paper, said other teams had previously tried to apply autofocus lenses to presbyopia. But without guidance from the eye-tracking hardware and system software, those earlier efforts were no better than wearing traditional progressive lenses.

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To validate its approach, the Stanford team tested the prototype on 56 people with presbyopia. Test subjects said the autofocus lenses performed better and faster at reading and other tasks. Wearers also tended to prefer the autofocal glasses to the experience of progressive lenses – bulk and weight aside.

If the approach sounds a bit like virtual reality, that isn’t far off. Wetzstein’s lab is at the forefront of vision systems for virtual and augmented reality. It was in the course of such work that the researchers became aware of the new autofocus lenses and eye-trackers and had the insight to combine these elements to create a potentially transformative product.

The next step will be to downsize the technology. Wetzstein thinks it may take a few years to develop autofocal glasses that are lightweight, energy efficient and stylish. But he is convinced that autofocals are the future of vision correction.

“This technology could affect billions of people’s lives in a meaningful way that most techno-gadgets never will,” he said.

Gordon Wetzstein is also director of the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab and a member of Stanford Bio-X and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.

The research was funded in part by Intel Corp., NVIDIA, an Okawa Research Grant, a Sloan Fellowship and the National Science Foundation.

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Safilo Group and Marc Jacobs Renew Licensing Deal

The new agreement will now run until Dec. 31, 2026.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PADUA/NEW YORK — Safilo and designer Marc Jacobs announced the early renewal of their licensing agreement for Marc Jacobs-branded optical frames and sunglasses collections.

The agreement will now run until Dec. 31, 2026.

The renewal of this partnership, which has reached its 15th year of collaboration, further strengthens Safilo’s portfolio in the contemporary segment.

It also extends the positioning of the brand in the luxury segment with the launch of the Marc Jacob’s Runway eyewear collection, which will hit the market in January 2021.

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Marcolin Group Enters a Partnership with Positive Luxury

This is by sponsoring the inaugural Positive Luxury Awards 2020.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Marcolin Group, a worldwide leading company in the eyewear industry, announces its partnership with Positive Luxury for their first edition of the Positive Luxury Awards. The ceremony is taking place in London on the 25th of February 2020 and the Group will present the Innovation of the Year Award.

Founded in 2011, Positive Luxury is an award-winning sustainability platform that connects luxury brands with people working towards a better future through the unique Butterfly Mark, a symbol of trust earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a key business principle.

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The Positive Luxury Awards 2020 is a global celebration of sustainability and innovation within the luxury industry, featuring a variety of categories recognizing companies or individuals affecting positive change in businesses and the global community.

Marcolin Group will sponsor the Innovation of the Year Award which identifies true innovators taking an entirely new approach to their service, product, technology or business model, improving their social or environmental performance while also offering large scale improvements internally and externally.

The evening’s winners will be selected by a special jury consisting of 12 global business leaders, including American-British model and activist, Arizona Muse, United Nations officer, Simone Cipriani, author of The New Green Consumer Guide, Julia Hailes, business writer and advisor, John Elkington, author and British Fashion Council’s Advisory Board member, Frances Corner, model, actress and activist, Amber Valletta, Parsons School of Design Dean of Fashion, Burak Cakmak, communications consultant and writer, Emma Young, journalist and author, Isabelle Lefort, Business for Social

Responsibility Managing Director, Elisa Niemtzow, and Imagine Co-founder and International Chamber of Commerce Chair, Paul Polman.

Massimo Renon, Marcolin Group CEO, affirmed: “Marcolin Group is the first international eyewear company collaborating with Positive Luxury. We will demonstrate to our partners and consumers that we are tracing a new path in the sustainability. Our relentless pursuit of innovation and experimentation has led Marcolin Group to become the first sponsor for The Positive Luxury Innovation of the Year Award”.

Diana Verde Nieto, Co-Founder and CEO of Positive Luxury, stated: “Marcolin Group’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality has helped them build an unparalleled reputation in the eyewear industry. We are proud to work with them and have their support for the Positive Luxury Awards 2020, more specifically, the Innovation of the Year Award”.

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Press Releases

Bollé Brands Adds to North American Marketing Team

Chris Abbruzzese has been appointed to the VP trade marketing role.

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(PRESS RELEASE) BOSTON, MA — Chris Abbruzzese has been named vice president of trade marketing for Bollé Brands, North America.

Abbruzzese will be responsible for developing trade marketing strategies that align with Bollé’s global brand strategies. In this new role, Abbruzzese will act as the key bridge between global marketing and product teams and the North American sales team with an emphasis on in-store programs that promote retail success and drive sell-through.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chris to the team and excited to have him help us take these great brands to the next level,” said Peter Smith, CEO of Bollé Brands

Abbruzzese brings 15 years of experience with Maui Jim Sunglasses, where he served as VP, Global Marketing. In that role, he developed and executed global marketing initiatives for the high-end sunglass line. As a member of the core team, he was instrumental in the early growth and expansion of the brand internationally.

Abbruzzese has also performed marketing and sales consulting services for clients in the outdoor, home automation, energy, optical, and digital fabrication industries.

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