LCD pushbutton sunglasses issued to US Navy SEALs (MERGED)

LimaOscarSierraTango

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While I think the title of the article (same as the title of the thread) is a bit misleading, it is still an interesting topic. What are your thoughts? Do you think it has practical uses like the scenario mentioned? Having very little experience in situations this may be useful, I would personally rather be able to use my hands as needed instead of taking a moment to push a button. I think it's a great start to useful technology though.

School me on what your feelings, please.

The latest gizmo to be adopted by top-secret special forces troops fighting the Wars on Stuff is liquid crystal ballistic sunglasses which can change colour automatically much faster than traditional "photochromic" offerings - or at the touch of a button.

The US Office of Naval Research says it designed the new Fast-Tint Protective Eyewear (FTPE) lenses to the requirements of the famous yet reclusive US Navy SEAL frogman-commandos. In common with other Western troops nowadays, the SEALs are encouraged more and more to wear protective eyewear in combat - potentially saving their sight from damage by flying fragments, grit, stones, blast etc.



As with the other troops, the SEALs have been issued a range of different-coloured interchangeable lenses for different light conditions. But this is too fiddly for situations such as assaulting buildings where operators will move swiftly from blazing outdoor sunlight to dark or dim interiors. SEALs on such an operation tend to simply take their sunglasses off as they go through the door - just before the guns and grenades start going off and the air fills with flying bits and pieces.

A possible solution might be so-called "photochromic" lenses (phototropic would seem more like the right word), well known under brand names such as Reactolite. But these take too long to change tint, and also they actually react to ultraviolet rather than visible light - which means that they won't necessarily darken in response to heavy sunlight through a window (as the UV doesn't penetrate the glass). Nor is there any way to manually select a particular tint or colour.

Hence the FTPE lenses, which are effectively basic liquid-crystal display screens. They can turn amber, blue, grey or clear when a small electric charge is applied - either by a miniature light-sensing automatic unit, or at the touch of a button.

"Transition time is less than 0.5 seconds," says the ONR's Stephanie Everett.

According to an ONR statement, 30 sets of FTPE goggles and glasses are at war with the SEALs right now, and 100 more have been ordered based on performance so far.

"We expect additional minor design changes based on the results of the current assessment," Everett says.

As has occurred with other items of kit (bomber jackets, cargo trousers etc), the civilian sunglasses market was originally almost created by military sunglasses - specifically the aviator specs of the 1940s - and there's always a chance that instant-colour-change tech might be the next must-have thing. One does note that Ohio firm AlphaMicron, credited by the ONR for developing the new SEAL-shades alongside navy boffins, already has "E-Tint" motorbike visors, ski goggles and auto-dimming vehicle mirrors on offer. ®
Bootnote

Readers will of course have noted that the FTPE/E-Tint lenses could be controlled by various other types of sensor or device than simple light-meters or manual buttons. It would seem entirely possible to produce a version which responded to bio-telemetry from the wearer, for instance, allowing the specs to become opaque in the event of any nervousness: or still more sophisticated kit might detect actual threats and adjust lens tint accordingly.

Thus a near-analogue of the famous Joo Janta Peril Sensitive Sunglasses worn by Zaphod Beeblebrox in the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy saga would seem at last to be within our grasp.

SOURCE
 

DA SWO

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Was there a photo? Nothing showed up but a blank area in the middle of the story?
How comfortable are they? Can I just put the lense into an existing frame? Are they heavy?
 

LimaOscarSierraTango

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No photo that I remember (I want to see what they look like also). I must have hit enter one or two too many times trying to clean it up. When it pasted, there weren't any spaces between paragraphs, so I wanted to make it a little more reader friendly. My error on that.
 

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http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011...glasses-auto-tint-fraction-second/?test=faces

Navy Testing High-Tech LCD Sunglasses That Instantly Auto-Tint

By Jeremy A. Kaplan
Published February 04, 2011
| FoxNews.com



Alphamicron%20tactical%20eyewear.jpg

Alpha Micro / James Vaughn
And you thought your Ray-Bans were cool.
The Office of Naval Research, the high-tech research and all-things-awesome arm of the Navy, has begun testing blast-proof ballistic eyewear that instantly alters tints in response to changing light conditions -- going from shaded to clear in barely a quarter of a second.
The super sunglasses -- to which the ONR has assigned the functional yet boring name of Fast-Tint Protective Eyewear -- rely on unique LCD lenses that react to environmental conditions, instantaneously darkening in bright sunlight and going transparent in darker areas.
Navy personnel are testing the amazing tech even now. But the shades aren't just cool, explained ONR Master Chief Charles Ziervogel. Naval warfighters rely on ballistic eyewear for protection in battle. So removing your sunglasses in a firefight simply isn't an option, he said.
"Sometimes when moving from dark to light environments, people that needed this protection were removing their eyewear -- exposing themselves to eye damage," Ziervogel told FoxNews.com. The current protective eyewear comes with interchangeable lenses -- dark, amber and light -- and it can take up to five minutes to swap them out.

The new high-tech shades have several flexible, embedded LCD screens. When the lights go low, an electric charge passes through one layer, aligning the crystals within and enabling the tint -- all in a fraction of a second.
Sound vaguely familiar? It should. The company behind the technology -- Kent, Ohio's Alpha Micro -- has been honing and perfecting it for almost 13 years, CEO Roy Miller told FoxNews.com.
"We wanted to get it to the point where it was military caliber," he said. The tech started out with a very different goal: shielding the eyes of fighter pilots from changing light conditions. Alpha Micro develop a flexible LCD screen that could bend in one direction, like a rolled up tube of paper, and sold it in snow goggles by Uvex, called the Uvex F1 Magic Goggles.
The goggles were hailed as a breakthrough, winning a "Best of What's New" award from Popular Science magazine in 2004. Similar tech is now powering motorcycle visors that change tint automatically -- a product that proved so successful it had consumers asking for more.
"Everyone always said, if you could put this in a pair of glasses, it would be really awesome," Miller told FoxNews.com. So the company spent years overcoming physics to build a curved, lens-shaped LCD screen -- and making it thin enough to paste into lenses.
Needless to say, the version going into the Navy's super shades is far more advanced than the motorcycle version, Miller said, but that doesn't mean the company won't sell it as a consumer product in the relatively near future. Once the navy wraps up testing, of course.
"These are still hand built prototypes," explained Stephanie Everett, program manager for ONR's Tech Solutions group. Thirty of the prototypes are undergoing testing right now, she said, and once tests are complete, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is expected to buy 100 of the glasses. But not until they're vetted, of course.
"We want to be able to prove the concept -- and that people like them," she said.
 

Casimir

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read that article on fox, seems like pretty cool tech, but I wonder how fragile they're going to be? I'll be REALLY impressed when they make a pair of sunglasses that are night vision capable.
biggrin.png
 

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OK, without reading every single post, I have to say this is one time the military is behind the eight ball. Not the exact same technology, but I have been using auto tinting welding masks for at least a decade, so I'm not of the "that's the shit" opinion on these new glasses. I'm talking in less than the time of a full weld flash to penetrate the lens.
 

DA SWO

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OK, without reading every single post, I have to say this is one time the military is behind the eight ball. Not the exact same technology, but I have been using auto tinting welding masks for at least a decade, so I'm not of the "that's the shit" opinion on these new glasses. I'm talking in less than the time of a full weld flash to penetrate the lens.

How quickly do the welding masks lighten up?
AF Nuclear Crews had the same technology in the 80's, special helmut would darken in a Nuclear Flash, preventing the crew from going blind. Going transparent again has alays been the issue, and reducing the size of the lens.
I want to see inserts as well, mature the technolgy and shoot it out to the rest of the force.
 

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How quickly do the welding masks lighten up?
AF Nuclear Crews had the same technology in the 80's, special helmut would darken in a Nuclear Flash, preventing the crew from going blind. Going transparent again has alays been the issue, and reducing the size of the lens.
I want to see inserts as well, mature the technolgy and shoot it out to the rest of the force.

I'm glad they are putting the tech to use for our troops, and doing it in a convenient size. After all, small is sexy in the world of Ops. I highlighted a couple of portions that saved me some typing.

Edit to add they should have no trouble integrating lenses to the current helmets while they work on perfecting the smaller tech.







9002X 4.09" X 2.13" Extra Large Auto-Darkening Welding Lens For 900...


An auto-darkening helmet contains an electronic shutter module. This module contains fixed/static IR (Infra-Red) and UV (Ultraviolet) filters that require no electricity to operate along with an electrically operated LC (Liquid Crystal) light valve or shutter. The LC valve/shutter darkens/lightens when a voltage is applied that re-orients the crystals that are floating in a liquid which is separated by two sheets of glass. The shutter module also contains photocells (light-dependent resistors) or other photosensor that is wired into an electronic control module. The control module detects the bright light emitted by the welding arc and closes (darkens) the LC valve/shutter. A timer circuit lightens the screen again some time (perhaps 100 milliseconds) after the arc goes out and ambient light levels return to normal.
The Liquid crystal itself is not sensitive to light and does not change tint independent of the control circuit.
Modern auto-darkening welding helmets have adjustments for sensitivity, shade (darkness achieved when arc triggers helmet), and time delay after arc removal before helmet returns to the normal, non-darkened state.
The sensitivity adjustment controls how readily the helmet darkens when exposed to a bright light source. If the sensitivity adjustment is set too low, the helmet may not darken when exposed to the arc, especially if the arc is small. On the other hand, if the sensitivity is set too high, the helmet may stay darkened when exposed to sunlight, bright room lights, arc flashes from other welders some distance away, etc.
Some auto-darkening welding helmets, especially higher priced ones, allow the user to adjust the "shade" value. One popular helmet allows adjustment between shade 9 and 13. Shade 9 is adequate for small, low intensity arcs, while 13 is used for bright, high energy arcs in dark spaces. The helmet user should initially set the helmet for an intermediate value and adjust the shade value up or down as required to get the best view of the work while welding and above-all to avoid excessive brightness that dazzles or irritates the eyes.
 

TLDR20

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They don't look cool enough for SEALs to wear them. Now if Arnette, Black Fly's, SPY or Electric made them SEALs might actually wear them. lol
 
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