The University of Utah will showcase four new technologies at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 in Las Vegas, including one that could change how people wear eyeglasses.
Although it's a campus holiday, a team of graduate students are busy working at the Sorensen Biotechnology Building on the University of Utah campus.
“I haven’t taken a holiday for a single day, not even Christmas," says Nazmul Hasan, a graduate student who is helping create the world’s first pair of adaptive glasses.
Hasan shows me his workshop where he has a few prototypes. The lens is wide and thick, like an oversized checkers piece. He says it works just like an auto focus lens in a digital camera.
"But the problem with your camera is that the lens is very big," says Hasan.
So, the name of the game is to get the lenses small enough that people can actually wear them. As of right now, they’re pretty bulky, but they work great.
Hasan demonstrates. The lens is moved back and forth and it automatically focuses on some printed text.
“It will be helpful for a lot of people around the world," says Hasan.
One of those people is engineering professor Carlos Mastrangelo who, along with overseeing the project, is responsible for the idea itself.
Mastrangelo says that growing up he always had perfect 20/20 vision but as he aged his eyesight diminished.
“And then I needed eye glasses and absolutely hate them because I have to take them on and off all the time," says Mastrangelo. "So I decided well we can do this thing automatically."
The project has already recieved funding through the Utah Science Technology and Research Agency (USTAR) and Mastrangelo says these lenses could be on the market as soon as two years from now. Which will be good news to anyone who wears bi-focal or reading glasses.
The other technologies being showcased at CES next week include an instructional software that teaches kids how to play piano and a device to help quadriplegic individuals control appliances like TVs and thermostats.