EYE ON INNOVATION: Smart Glasses For Cyclists, Runners Sprint Beyond Funding Goal

A consumer version of innovative eyewear for cyclists and runners, originally created for U.S. Special Forces, is setting a breakaway funding pace on Indiegogo, the global crowdfunding site.

Ctrl, a Dutch-subsidiary of Kent, Ohio-based AlphaMicron, has been seeking funding via Indiegogo to develop Ctrl One, a pair of sleek cycling and running “smart glasses” that can change tint from dark to transparent in a fraction of a second, automatically adapting to surrounding lighting conditions.

And just how popular are these glasses on Indiegogo? As of the end of August, $389,982 in pre-sales funding had been raised. That surpasses an initial modest funding goal of $20,000.

As Gizmag.com reports, photo-chromatic lenses have been around for decades and can change tint to dynamically fit the surrounding conditions, but usually take minutes to do so. More recently, scientists have been developing ways of changing the tint nearly instantaneously in both glass lenses and windows, using a small electric current as the trigger.

Under contract with the U.S. military, AlphaMicron developed such a technology, which it dubbed e-Tint, in a way that lets the lens tint switch from transparent to sunglasses mode in just one tenth of a second.

Now, AlphaMicron’s Dutch subsidiary, Ctrl, has created a design for a pair of glasses that makes use of this same e-Tint technology and is aimed at the consumer market: specifically cyclists, runners, hikers, mountain climbers and other outdoor types. As Gizmag.com says, the glasses boast a decent battery life and are rain and sweat resistant. The glasses allow users to toggle the lens tint with the press of a button, or, as Ctrl calls it, “electronic tint-on-demand.” Or, users can choose the automatic mode, and have the integrated sensor detect the lighting conditions and switch on automatically.

Pre-sale prices start around $200. Prices will increase to $275 when deliveries start, which is project to be in November.

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