The role of glasses is typically very straightforward – to correct vision. Whether you’re having trouble seeing far, near, or reading, frames can help to provide clarity.
That being said, a number of glasses have been developed with additional or other purposes.
Perhaps a fan of sushi, Brad Gressel of Chicago developed Stix glasses – glasses with built-in chopsticks. The stainless steel eating utensils are tucked into the arms of the glasses. These chopsticks can be washed, easily accessed, and the end is left open to prevent bacteria build-up.
In a more dramatic gesture, James Sooy and Oliver Gibson created Pierced Glasses, a piercing at the top of the nose that attaches to hinged glasses. When interviewed, the creators likened their creation to laser eye surgery, calling the invention less extreme than undergoing LASIK, though most would disagree with that notion.
Ditching lenses altogether, Sang Jang Lee has created a prototype of glasses that uses the ancient eastern practice of reed screens to block the sun. Though these frames are sure to make a statement, they have yet to be tested for visual quality and protection from UV glare, so it may be best to stick to your regular shades for the time being.
Japanese manufacturer Masunaga has created Wink Glasses, which are designed to combat dry eye, a condition that is particularly prevalent in individuals that spend sustained periods of time staring at computer screens without blinking. Tired individuals are also prone to blink less frequently than usual. The glasses include a clip-on device that monitors frequency of blinking, and if frequency decreases below a certain threshold, the device causes one of the lenses to fog up. This prompts the user to blink, and once their blinking rate has returned to normal, the mist disappears.
The term “beer goggles” is wisely used to describe the vision and judgement that accompanies a certain level of intoxication, but now Urban Spectacles has designed spectacles actually made from beer bottles. The company specialises in frames made from a wide variety of unusual materials, including natural wood, old vinyl LP’s, and bicycle parts, and glasses are fully customised to meet the desires of the individual.
In a product that combines glasses with computing, NEC’s Tele Scouter renders bulky translation dictionaries obsolete as it translates a variety of languages in real time, displaying the translations of text on your glasses. NEC expects to begin shipping the product this year, which includes a remote server in addition to the portable frames, but these translators won’t come cheap – it will cost an estimated $8 million to outfit 30 members of staff.
With an apparent cure for jetlag, Australian scientists have developed glasses that they say prevent the mental and physical fatigue associated with flying across multiple time zones. According to these scientists, wearing these glasses for only a few hours while flying will allay the tiredness typically associated with jetlag. The glasses work using light-emitting diodes, which help stimulate the brain and reset the body’s internal clock.
After a gorilla attacked a female visitor, the Rotterdam Zoo has introduced cardboard glasses designed to create the illusion that the wearer is looking off to the side. Gorillas do not like direct eye contact and may attack visitors who stare at them, so the glasses create the illusion of looking away, while providing a small viewing hole for observation.
Finally, in the latest obscure dieting tool, a Japanese company has developed blue-tinted glasses designed to make food appear less attractive and decrease appetite. The effectiveness of said glasses in dieting is unclear, but they are certain to draw attention, particularly when worn indoors!