Electrochromic Fast Darkening Sunwear for People Armd

Period of Performance: 09/01/2001 - 04/30/2003


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Ashwin-ushas Corp., Inc.
Principal Investigator


This project seeks to further develop and test to a level of consumer-ready prototypes a new, Conducting Polymer (CP) based electrochromic (EC) technology for persons with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) as well as other age-related ocular diseases. It is based on our prior work at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Rehabilitation R&D Center with EC sunglasses tested on ARMD subjects, and on new, CP EC technology originally developed at this firm for office/auto windows. In the prior work, it was shown that the functional vision and mobility performance of people with ARMD significantly improves with EC sunglasses. In the Phase I work, excellent EC lens performance was demonstrated: 3% to 83% light/dark contrast; 1 to 3 sec switching time; thin (l.t. 3 mm), flexible (plastic), solid-state construction, cyclability g.t. 5,000 cycles. A sophisticated Controller (hardware/software) for ambient-light dependent control of sunglasses was demonstrated. Subject testing on 9 ARMD patients showed a real performance difference in simulated outdoor environment. In the present project, the EC performance of the lenses will be further refined, 100 EC glasses with a more sophisticated hearing-aid- sized Controller fabricated, and patient testing on 25 (Year 1) and 100 (Year 2) patients demonstrated. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: Prior research has shown that such fast-darkening sunwear would also appeal to the general, normal-sighted populace, in addition to the 2 M people with ARMD and more than 1 M with other age-related ocular problems in the US. Thus, if as expected the EC sunglasses are producible for l.t. US $250, they would command a large market.