AI Enhanced Lenses
Help! The robots are taking over!
Well, not quite, but they ARE assisting in many high-precision fields, so it was only inevitable that the field of Optics would turn to AI as well. But what does it mean to have a lens produced by AI? Let’s take a look by reviewing 3 things:
- The inherent complications of designing a lens
- How “Digital Surfacing” improved on the classic lens design
- How AI has now refined the process even further
But first: WHO IS THIS FOR?
The added cost and the increased optics are for those looking to achieve the absolute maximum visual experience possible for their prescription or who have had difficulties with previous lens adaptation. Sometimes it’s because of a complicated prescription, but not always.
1. Inherent Complications in Lens Design. It’s all about Curves!
Vision correction started out with a simple idea…
- When light goes through a curved surface (like a lens), the light bends.
- Cool! So let’s use those curved surfaces in a lens to redirect light entering our eyes so they are better focused on our retina. Tada!
- That “theoretically ideal curve” only works when your eyes are in perfect formation and alignment and don’t ever change or move. Uh, yeah, not very practical! 🙁
- In reality, your eyes don’t play nicely. Instead of sitting nice and still behind your glasses, they’re constantly moving around and recalibrating in ways that interfere with the lens’ ability to focus light properly for you.
Some variables include:
- Eye movement, including internal rotation in the socket
- Change in pupil size for different tasks and lighting
- Angle of upward or downward gaze
- Eye convergence (eyes coming together when looking at close objects)
- The distance of the frame and wraparound angle
- Changing distance from the eye to the lens surface as you look around
- … and on and on
- Older generation lenses with “simpler curves” got the job done well enough, but clarity was lost wherever those curves didn’t line up to what the eye was doing.
2. The Solution: “DIGITAL” Lenses!
A Bug’s Eye Approach…
- A “digital” lens is a lens that places “micro-curves” all over the lens (almost like how a bug’s eye may appear).
- So instead of one continuous smooth curve, you now create millions of micro-curves across the lens to refine the light light bending.
- This was known for a long time, but there wasn’t a way to actually grind those micro-variations onto the lens surfaces until digital tech could catch up to theory (hence the name “Digital” lenses).
Better Tech Finally Arrived…
- With the advent of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines and higher computer processing powers, machines are now able to grind the lenses with those nanoscopic details all over the lens, refining the angle of bent light “just so” to provide better clarity, less distortion, and a relaxed gaze at any particular eye position.
- Great, so problem solved! So why the need for AI?…
3. Refinement through AI
What AIs are good at…
- AIs are great tools for solving problems because they mimic our own problem solving skills, except they do it MUCH faster.
- AIs can pour over given data (just like we do) and consider how pertinent variables are related (just like we do) and then they look for patterns and statistically relevant information and re-feed it back into the data to update the analysis (just like we do).
- And they do this while holding “in their heads” incredibly large amounts of data points… which we CAN’T do.
Putting AI to work…
- We take all that robust AI analyzing power and point it at a lens and say “GO!”…
- Go make us a lens with micro-curves (like regular Digital Lenses) but this time PLAN OUT THOSE CURVES by taking into account VAST data and analysis, all while considering the following:
- Specific measurements from the patient and how they relate to the average population
- The age of this patient, and therefore their typical pupil size
- The types of devices increasingly used by the age group, and convergence demands required
- The typical posture of the age group
- The depths of field for various tasks done
- The complexities of eye rotations measured across the population
- … and THEN reincorporate newly received data back into the process to further refine your own algorithm!
- You now have an evolving lens designing algorithm that produces better and better lenses that have just as many nanoscopic corrections as another digitally surfaced lens, but now those corrections are updated for general modern uses as well as your personal physiology based on millions of data points that we humans could never have the time to pour over ourselves.
The Bottom Line?
- Increased clarity
- Increased comfort
- Ease of use and initial adaptation
- Decreased peripheral distortions
- Better vision at various focal distances
- Reduced eye strain and fatigue at day’s end.