Local

Mt. Lebanon Company Develops Smart Shades

By Dr. Maria Simbra
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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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Health News & Information: CBSPittsburgh.com/Health

MT. LEBANON (KDKA) — A local business called Dymanic Eye is trying to change the way you see things — bright light, specifically.

Its product would keep you from seeing the bright light no matter where it is in relation to your eyes.

To get rid of annoying reflected light, people try lenses that darken when exposed to UV wavelengths. Some try lenses that cancel out certain light waves. These strategies involve the whole lens.

“We don’t have materials that allow it to react or change, so to have a dynamic anti-glare kind of correction is fascinating,” says optometrist, Dr. Noah Eger of the Eger Eye Group.

Imagine a pair that darkens just the parts receiving the greatest amount of glare. A company in Mt. Lebanon has been working on that for seven years.

“I think our technology is unique and spatially just blocking where the sun is and not blocking everything else,” says Chris Mullin, a physicist and the company founder who combines his expertise in optics, computers and electronics.

A camera on the frame feeds the image to a tiny computer which instantly directs a grid pattern of shading to the part of the lens with the most glare.

These shades might appeal to people with glaucoma and cataracts, truck drivers, pilots and military personnel and people who drive or play in bright sunshine.

But right now, they’re just prototypes. With the current model, the battery lasts 80 hours and each pair costs $2,000, but with refinement the price could come down.

“We intend to launch our product for $400 to $500,” says Mullin.

To be marketable and to meet FDA approval, the lenses will have to be changed from glass to plastic – no easy matter with liquid crystals.

His biggest challenge to making improvements is finding several million dollars in venture capital.

“And often they expect someone to be rather over the top and superlative and how this is just going to revolutionize things,” he says. “I am much more of the tech guy who works well in the lab and can see a product and say I want to get there.”

At the moment, his best client is the military, which has invested in his research and development to meet their purposes. He would like to find other sources of funding, so his device could be made accessible to the average consumer.

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