As a kid, growing up with crude LCD video games, I often wondered why manufacturers didn’t introduce a solar panel powered set of sunglasses that could darken the screen in bright environments and lighten when it was a little dimmer. As a teenager, I did have a pair of glasses that were described as photochromic, that is they would darken in bright light and (eventually) lighten when I was back indoors. Unfortunately, the experience was tainted by the glasses taking several minutes to darken and about half an hour to lighten afterwards. Modern variants of the same technology are much more responsive but none currently offer digital control.
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Now it seems that Samsung have an idea that is, well, thirty years more up to date and takes advantage of some of the technological improvements that I’ve witnessed. They have patented a changeable glasses design that, using a smartphone, allows the wearer to change the color and style of the glasses – both the lenses and the frame. The glasses do not require a smartphone to work as they can be manually controlled to lighten or darken the lenses. But for the really cool effect of changing the color, it looks like you’ll need a smartphone! And unfortunately if Samsung’s history of most of their wearables is anything to go by, you’ll likely need a Samsung smartphone at that.
The patent information doesn’t go into any detail about the other potential features that may be used in a pair of smarter-than-dumb glasses (I’m not so sure that these qualify as smartglasses just through the ability to change color), which is perhaps a shame. Samsung could take this opportunity to use the glasses to project information or directions rather than simply allowing it to change shade and hue. Given Samsung’s massive push towards introducing Tizen OS into all sorts of consumer white goods, I’m surprised that these glasses are not a part of the Internet of Things. This seems something of a wasted opportunity, but then perhaps Samsung have read my boyhood mind and are producing the very design that I always wanted? It’s a shame, then, that I want my glasses today to have at least a 2.0 GHz quad core processor…