Coming soon: high-tech glasses from Ghent

Ghent-based tech company Morrow is about to launch a range of high-tech eyewear, initially on the Belgian market, which allow the wearer to switch between near and far vision at the push of a button.

Many of us have experienced it: you browse on your phone while waiting for a bus. The bus arrives and you look up, but your eyes are too slow to make out the number on the sign.

One solution is to invest in expensive bifocal (or even trifocal) lenses, where half the lens is for near vision and the top half for far vision. The solution is not optically perfect, and not optimal for some people, but it is the best that has been available so far.

Morrow claims a breakthrough.

Our lenses consist of two ultra-fine, ultra-precise optical lenses, ”said co-founder Jelle De Smet, who created Morrow with Paul Marchal, whom he met when they both worked at Leuven Imec Research Institute.

Between the two layers is a thin layer of liquid crystal, similar to that of many televisions, which changes the way light hits either lens.

On the right leg of the frame is a button that, when pressed, sends an electrical impulse through the lens via a nanochip, passing from lens to lens. To go back, press again.

The glasses were developed in collaboration with the 3D printing company Materialize for materials, and eyewear brand Hoet for design.

Glasses have a downside, however: electronics require energy. The glasses contain a small battery to keep them running, and the battery needs to be charged. Manufacturers say a full charge will last for three days. However, as users of charged devices know – and everybody’s got it these days – it’s always better to charge more than to be caught off guard when you need power the most.

For the moment, the glasses can only be ordered online. An appointment is made and a specialist comes to your home to take the necessary measurements. The frame and lenses are made to measure.

The glasses cost around € 1,000.

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