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How electronic glasses could make driving easier

matthew gooding | Cambridge news | 30 September 2016

This article first appeared in Cambridge News

Electronic glasses that could enable you see better while driving at night have been launched with the help of a Cambridgeshire firm.

PA Consulting at Melbourn has helped start-up Inoptec launch a new concept in electronic glasses that it says significantly reduces the glare of oncoming headlights at night, while retaining otherwise clear vision.

As the human eye cannot react quickly enough to adjust to rapid transitions between bright light and darkness, the glasses use electronically controlled liquid crystal technology to automatically balance light levels to enable wearers to maintain vision in changing conditions.

By synchronising the user's headlights with the glasses, all the benefits of the headlights can be retained while significantly blocking unwanted oncoming glare from other vehicles or lights. The two firms claim the glasses will significantly improve drivers' vision without interference from the sudden darkness of a tunnel or the glare of oncoming headlights. They could also benefit anyone who travels outdoors and requires clear vision in challenging light conditions.

Charley Henderson, PA Consulting technology innovation expert, said: “Inoptec is a highly innovative company with a portfolio of really interesting ideas. We can see that the benefits of these glasses can be applied to a wide variety of sectors such as sports, automotive, aviation and medicine. The demonstration system we have built has allowed Inoptec to show how brilliantly this technology can cut dazzle. It has also served as a platform to explore how the technology might best be applied in different applications.

“Building on this, we look forward to working with Inoptec through the full product development process and to deliver a high quality commercial product."

PA helped Inoptec, which has offices in the UK and Germany, turn its anti-glare system from idea into a physical reality in just three weeks. Working from its Melbourn Technology Centre, the PA team worked with Inoptec to design and build a complete working demonstration system for the technology. The team retrofitted off-the-shelf frames with innovative liquid crystal filters which synchronise to the user's own light source.

The glasses were demonstrated for the first time at the recent New Scientist technology show in London. 

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