Why you won’t mind recharging your next bifocals


Having got my first pair of progressive bifocals recently, I can’t help but want these smart glasses from PixelOptix. The lenses are embedded with liquid crystals which can create an “electronic reading zone” either automatically or through manual activation. This “emPower” concept is to allow for standard viewing at all times, but only to turn on the near-focus function when needed.

Given that the emPower solution uses electricity to modify the liquid crystal arrangement, you’ll need to charge your glasses. The company says to expect two to three days on a single charge, but I don’t view that as an issue: You’re not going to wear these while sleeping, so it shouldn’t be a problem to re-charge the specs overnight.

Aside from the current needed to activate the liquid crystals, battery power is needed to use the integrated accelerometer in the frames. In automatic mode, the glasses use this sensor to detect when you’re looking down and more likely to be reading or viewing something close up; the reading zone is activated on its own.

Folks who wear the emPower glasses can manually control the focus activation too. A touch-capable strip on the frame’s temple switches from auto to manual mode and can be used to create the reading zone with a tap. Here’s an explanation of the intelligence of the system and the different modes.


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