Adlens is making our latest favorite item in the wearable technology sector.
What it is: Adlens are prescription glasses that you adjust yourself to your own prescription. The company calls them “variable focus eyewear.” As far as wearable tech goes, Adlens makes something pretty cool – each lens consists of an elastic membrane held between polycarbonate plates. As the space is injected with fluid via a removable dial, the membrane bends to adjust the power of the lens.
How it works: The glasses come with a sort of steampunk-looking adjuster on each side, which you twist back and forth to change the prescription strength in each lens until they’re perfect. Here some responsibility is left to the wearer — obviously you want to do this carefully to a. avoid headaches and b. get the lens strength absolutely right before removing the dials. (After snapping them off, the lenses are set.) You can leave the dials on for a few days to test the glasses and make sure you’ve got each lens adjusted correctly.
The glasses can correct from -4.5 to +3.5 prescriptions, which means they work for both far and near sightedness, but won’t help you out if your eyesight is bad enough that you’re legally blind. On the other hand, if you have trouble with both near and far vision and don’t mind some crazy looking dials on your eyewear, you can leave the adjusters attached and change the lens power back and forth.
Our experience: There are a few different styles, but Adlens’ newest are these John Lennon lookalikes (that’s who the collection is named for) which come as sunglasses and regular eyeglasses. We tried the sunglasses ($133) — style-wise, they were a little small for our face, but the ability to fine-tune the lenses was awesome (we’re near-sighted). It was easy to adjust each side, be sure of the prescription, and snap off the dials.
And more: Though the glasses launched a few months ago, the company’s e-commerce venture is all new. So is a charitable component — for every pair of the John Lennon Collection sold, Adlens donates a pair of glasses to a recipient in a developing country, through their non-profit partner Vision for a Nation.