In case you don't know it, the Navy is not the 1970s "Village People" branch of the military. These guys do some cool stuff and are making even cooler toys to do it with.
Want to find future tech for megawatt-class laser beams in next-generation weapon systems? The Navy. Want to go completely science fiction and find work on a railgun with a projectile that rides an electromagnetic current to its target? The Navy.
Now they are redoing sunglasses. Later this year, Special Warfare Command (those are SEALs to you and me) will get Fast-Tint Protective Eyewear (FTPE), which are LCD ballistic eyewear that change color much faster than the kind of transitional lenses we civilians might get - 0.5 seconds to adapt to new lighting conditions.
Fast-Tint Protective Eyewear (FTPE). Photo: ONR
The Navy wants commandos to be able to keep their glasses on when moving from outside to inside environments and not have to change lenses and tasked the Office of Naval Research with finding a solution. Not waiting for lenses to adjust or, worse, taking off protective eyewear, preserves 'operational tempo' though, if you are like me, you thought there was only one tempo - shock, kill, go home.
How does it work? Their liquid crystal solution in each layer of the lenses has customized dyes that change the tint when an electric charge is applied, in the automated mode, or manually when a button is pushed on the frame. Tints are amber, blue, dark gray or clear. The lenses are designed to meet the American National Standards Institute's ballistic impact safety requirements.
Jeremy Kaplan at Fox News notes that the folks behind the technology, AlphaMicro of Ohio, have been developing this for over a dozen years and debuted the Uvex F1 Magic Goggles for skiers a while back, though curved LCD screens thin enough to be sunglasses are obviously a much bigger technological (and therefore physics) leap.
When will these arrive in stores for us non-commandos? Hard to say, but it won't be long once the handmade prototypes are shown to be military class.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Researchers Created A Laser Bullet To See What It Would Look Like - And Here It Is
- The Strange Organic Molecules In Titan's Atmosphere
- Will Holding Thermal Printer Paper Really Send Your BPA Levels Soaring?
- The Quote Of The Week - Shocked And Disappointed
- As The Weather Changes, So Do Beliefs About Climate Change
- ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- "Hi Nury, good to see you back here again after so many months away from this monster Science20..."
- "The OSX versions are all free, the all in one IOS version is not free. The developer (which I am..."
- "Anonymous, when you disagree, be civil and cite the specific sentence or quote that you disagree..."
- "I wonder how this one was genetically modified?(cartoon by Norman Thelwell) ..."
- "I have no time for you. Either learn how to have a decent, mature conversation without resorting..."
- Coffee grounds turned biofuel can heat your home
- Bill and Melinda Gates on GMOs: ‘Poor farmers should not be denied choice of life-saving tools’
- Why do foodies love organics? Because they taste like McDonald’s!
- GMO milk? An enviros dream innovation that most enviros oppose
- National Wildlife Refuge System bans on GMOs and neonics lack transparency, scientific rationale
- Want better sperm? Eat more pesticides
- New policymaking tool for shift to renewable energy
- Teens whose parents exert more psychological control have trouble with closeness, independence
- Two days later: Adolescents' conflicts with family spill over to school, vice versa
- Children in high-quality early childhood education are buffered from changes in family income
- 'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia