Technology, innovation and consulting firm PA Consulting Group has helped start-up business INOPTEC Ltd launch a new concept in electronic glasses that significantly reduces the glare of oncoming headlights at night, whilst retaining otherwise clear vision.
As the human eye cannot react quickly enough to adjust to rapid transitions between bright light and darkness, these 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 whilst significantly blocking unwanted oncoming glare from other vehicles or lights. The glasses will significantly improve drivers’ vision without interference from the sudden darkness of a tunnel or the glare of oncoming headlights. It will also benefit anyone who travels outdoors and requires clear vision in challenging light conditions.
PA helped INOPTEC turn their Anti-Glare System from idea into a physical reality in just three weeks. Working from its Global Innovation and 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.
Charley Henderson, PA Consulting technology innovation expert, says: “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.”
Ralf G.J. Knoll, INOPTEC CEO, says: “PA has knowledge of the underlying science combined with a commercial appreciation of what it takes to get a new technology to market. This made it the obvious choice for a development partner. We set them a tough challenge in short timescales and I am very pleased to say that they did an excellent job of bringing our smart glasses idea to life in a physical demonstrator. Because we have engaged with PA at this stage, I have great confidence in our future capability to deliver new products through the design and industrialisation process, and into the market. PA’s engineers have a long track record in successfully designing new innovative products and transferring them into volume manufacture. Their capability and willingness to get to grips with how our technology works now makes us a great combined team going forward.”
The glasses were first demonstrated at New Scientist Live in London last week. Visitors to the INOPTEC stand were able to experience the wow effect of shifting rapidly between different light conditions, safely, instantaneously and with no visual impairment.
About the glasses
INOPTEC’s electronically controlled glasses use Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology to precisely control the amount of light entering the eye. Under bright conditions, the glasses can adjust to compensate for the fast varying light levels much faster than the human eye, retaining continuous clear and blink-free vision. For example, driving through a tunnel, or cycling fast between trees. Under darker conditions, the glasses can be synchronised with personal torches or headlights, to selectively filter out the glare from oncoming vehicles or other dazzling light sources, whilst still seeing all the benefit of the users own light sources.