Liquid Crystal Display sunglasses – come on, are you really surprised? At the speed that technology is moving today it was only a matter of time before the U.S. Military got some really cool shades, James Bond style. That day is today. Uncle Sam recently announced that U.S. special troops like the NAVY SEALS frogman commando unit will now be adorning high-tech LCD sunglasses that change color with the click of a button. These sunglasses can change from amber, blue, gray, or clear instantly all with the push of a finger. How and why you say? Here’s the down low.
Sunglasses that change tints which we everyday consumers are use to are called Photochromic. The technology behind theses shades is that they change tint when exposed to UV light. The only downside to these, from a military perspective, is that sometimes the tint-changing process can take a few seconds, or even a few minutes, to full convert from one tint to another. These few seconds can be quite costly or even life threatening if you’re running from inside a dark abandoned building to direct sunlight outside, and while being bombarded with bullets, blasts and flying debris. The other option is changeable lenses, which again takes time, effort and distraction to take the lenses out and replace them with a different tint.
Enter LCD sunglasses. Freevisioninfo wrote a blog about this newly discovered technology a few months ago, and the military saw an obvious need for it and picked it up quite quickly. The U.S. is calling them FTPE or Fast-Tint-Protective Eyewear because they tint within the blink of an eye and they are ballistic rated. So here is how the FTPE lenses differ from Photochromic:
Whereas Photochromic lenses depend on UV light and slow reaction time to change, FTPE have neither. LCD technology is nothing new, but the implementation into eyewear is. LCD lenses change to certain hues when heated to certain temperatures. The LCD lenses are are heated by a small electric battery charge, which is fine-tuned to specific degrees, therefore certain colors. By clicking a button, soldiers change their sunglass tints accordingly without any help from sun. According to official statements, the FTPE transition time is less than .5 seconds.
As of now the FTPE sunglasses aren’t available to the public, but if they follow the footsteps of other military apparel, like Aviator sunglasses or Cargo pants, it’s only a matter of time before they become mainstream fashion. Imagine combining a pair of FTPE sunglasses with Lady Gaga’s camera sunglasses, now that would be James Bond worthy!0