When Chris Mullin was a physics postdoc at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California, one of the most annoying parts of his day was his commute. He had to drive half of the 35 miles between his home in Berkeley and his lab in Livermore into near-direct sunlight. The glare gave him headaches and made it tough to see oncoming traffic. "I thought, 'God, I feel tense, I feel unsafe,' " he says. So he came up with an idea: sunglasses that would use an electronic shield to block glare instantly.
Mullin—whose work was funded partly with a research grant from the U.S. Air Force—is initially focusing his work on creating eyewear for fighter pilots and soldiers. "Troops could go from high-noon sun into a hut with no illumination, and the eyewear would respond," says Air Force research biologist Jeffrey Wigle. "They could see instantly after walking into the place and have a tremendous tactical advantage." Mullin also plans to target sunglasses manufacturers like Oakley, so that anyone will be able to buy Dynamic Eye shades within a few years.
Name: Dynamic Eye Sunglasses
Inventor: Chris Mullin
Time: 8 years
Cost: $2 million
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It is not a new idea. Several years ago, a medical doctor invented LCD eyeglasses to limit light to get into a patient. I am not sure where I read about this LCD eyeglasses -- perhaps, PopSci.
What a novel comment you have there. Akin to saying first, 'its been done b4'.
You know I didn't see any on the shelf last time i went shopping for sun glasses so apparently they never got it right before.
I could really benefit from a pair of these. After my lasik surgery any light source produces a significant halo affect that is very distracting and annoying. High beams at night are my nemesis.
I love it, it's one of those "why didn't I think of that before ideas."
If the prof reads this, I'd like to suggest making the LCD a lighter color (like white) or something that is translucent so it is more subtle and therefore sexier.
Best of luck, I think he's got a winner on his hands.
CRAP!!!! I had this idea a few years ago but didn't think it'd go anywhere. WTH was I thinking?
I don't see this as a thing for the military in the traditional sense. I see this thing as a tool for the sensors on drones and eventually soldier helmets. Muzzle flash can be a pain and if it was responsive enough, it could darken in time. There's actually a helmet design I've thought up that would allow extra time for the material to selectively darken, and if used, this could cut down on the effectiveness of flash-bangs and dazzling things
Invention? So you mean the same idea as electronic welding helmets have had for the last 25 years?
@ cruzinmy64: Auto-darkening welding face shields don't work that way. The entire lens gets darker in response to intense light. This is a different idea. It would be great to have while driving into the setting/rising sun (try that with a welding helmet, lol). Truck drivers and commuters could benefit tremendously from this. As for military applications, I imagine fighter pilots, armored vehicle drivers, gunners and commanders would welcome the option. It seriously needs to look much cooler than that super-dork prototype, though.
These glasses were also mentioned in an old Larry Niven short story. I think they were called 'flare glasses' and worked very much the same way.
This technology could be used to protect pilots from people that shine green lasers at airplanes and blind pilots. Or what about for welders?