Chemists at the University of Washington in Seattle have developed adjustable sunglasses that can be controlled to suit ambient light conditions.
The prototype glasses are similar in size to ski goggles and have two layers of electro-chromic material sandwiching an electrically activated gel.
By adjusting the voltage with a side-mounted scroll wheel the sunglasses can change from transparent to dark, and in shades of yellow, green or purple.
"Through polymer chemistry we have developed lenses unlike anything else on the market. This could be the fashion statement of the future," said Chunye Xu, associate director of the university's Center for Intelligent Materials and Systems.
The sunglasses are powered by a small watch battery and, once set, can remain at the same level for 30 days without additional power consumption.
The university has already filed patents on the invention and commercially available glasses are expected by 2009.
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