These Smartglasses Block Out Screens Around You When You Put Them On

IRL glasses

These days it seems like screens are all around you – from TVs and laptops to buses and even refrigerators, your eyes are getting hit by screens all day long – bringing you a deluge of information without you even asking for them. So, is there a way to escape these ubiquitous screens? Well, there is. A new startup has developed a pair of sunglasses called IRL Glasses, which when you wear them, blocks the screen around you by making the screen appear black.

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“We’re seeing such a shift in our habits as humans, and I think it’s really worth taking a step back and not just unthinkingly embracing the digital world, but questioning it,” says artist Ivan Cash, who is developing the glasses with a new global collective called IRL.

An average American spends majority of their time while awake, staring at screens. They spend 4 hours staring at their smartwatch screens, and hours more watching TV, using computers, and playing video games. In the process they watch hundreds of ads each day.

To block light from LCD and OLED displays found in TVs, the glasses use horizontal polarizers. They can also be worn as sunglasses to block UV light.

By flattening and rotating the polarized lens 90 degrees, light emitted by LCD/LED screens is blocked, making it look like the TV or computer in front of you is off.

The glasses have already undergone multiple rounds of prototyping, according to Cash. He said he has also received interest from some fairly big names, which may dictate the direction the project goes in the future.

IRL Glasses
IRL glasses

“We’ve already spoken to optics engineers at Waymo, NASA, and Snap,” Cash continued. “[Our hope is to eventually] develop an advanced pair of IRL Glasses that block all screens, including OLED and smartphones. This is a mission we are dedicated to,” reports Digital Trends.

The glasses are currently in beta, which means they work to block LCD and LED screens on most TVs and some computers; however, they don’t work on smartphones or digital billboards just yet.

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The price tag is $79, but can be purchased at a discount for $49 through Kickstarter and is supposed to ship in April 2019.

Note: the glasses are not intended to be worn while driving and are not designed for medical use.