When Google launched its wearable computer, Google Glass, last year, the release was met with multitudes of praise and a smidgen of downtrodden comments from the bespectacled community. Those who were born with less than perfect visual acuity have been plagued by the consumer electronic community for the past couple of years, ever since 3D became more than a novelty -- and Glass was no different, until now.
Rochester Optical announced on Monday the first prescription option for Google Glass, appropriately timed as CES, “the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies,” kicked off in Las Vegas. The Glass Prescription Lens Carrier (GPLC) takes advantage of Glass’ modular design, adhering to the nose bridge much like the Glass sun shades do. “Style and fashion was one the primary deliverables for R&D as we were designing the GPLC’s,” said Tim Moore, member of the Rochester Optical Glass Team. “They had to look fantastic and offer a variety of colors and customizations to fit the personality of the wearer.”
Rochester Optical had to design not just the attachable frames, but the lenses too. Producing a prescription Glass option wasn’t as simple of a task as it seems. Because of the head-up display’s (HUD) location, the lens needed to be adjusted for focal acuity. Normal prescription lenses are not designed to optimize the visual acuity in those upper-gaze directions, leading to a blurring of the display and visual fatigue as the eye itself tries to compensate for the movement to a less clear viewing area.
But Rochester Optical fixed that problem by creating a second focal point specifically for the Glass HUD. Rochester Optical scientists have created a new design, the Glass Optimized Lens Design (GOLD), where special care is taken to remove unwanted aberrations perceived by the wearer in the directions of sight associated with the HUD, giving the wearer a clear vision of the HUD, as well as the normal clear vision their lenses provide of the world around them.
The RO GOLD options will be available in Digitally Surfaced Single Vision, Digitally Surfaced Straight Top 28 Bi-Focal and Digitally Surfaced full back side Progressive lenses. These lens designs come in a standard plastic CR-39® material, in a light-weight impact-resistant Trivex® material and in thin and light High Index materials. These lenses will be available with options including Anti-reflective coatings and photochromic lenses such as Transitions® and with choices in tints and scratch-resistant coatings.
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Right now Rochester Optical will be taking pre-orders for the GPLCs and GOLD lenses in late January, with early February as a prospective ship date. The GPLCs are priced at $129 each, while the GOLD lenses start at $99 with the upgradable options at additional costs. Now if RealD, makers of 3D movie glasses, would take a hint and produce prescription-friendly 3D options, that would be great.