Uvex's Electronic Sunglasses
Uvex's new Variotronic sunglasses seem like something out of a science fiction movie, allowing riders to change the tint of their lens at the push of a button. The change from 64% to 16% visible light transmission takes only one-tenth of a second, a feature that anyone who's ever been momentarily blinded after emerging into the bright sunlight from a dark forest, or vice versa, can appreciate. That number is also considerably quicker than photochromic lenses, which typically take over twenty seconds to adjust to changing light conditions. The Variotronic also has an automatic mode, where a built in sensor changes the tint depending on the amount of ambient light. The technology for the lenses was originally developed for military applications, but Uvex is now concentrating on implementing it into eyewear for cyclists.
The Variotronic's battery is housed in the left arm, and uses a micro-USB port for recharging.
How Do They Work?
The key to the Variotronic's tint-altering magic is a liquid crystal film that's laminated to the lens. When electricity is run through the material, a charge that's supplied by the glasses' USB rechargeable battery, the alignment of the liquid crystals is altered, changing the tint. Battery life is said to be 50 hours, enough time to fit in multiple all-day epics before plugging them in. Initially there will be two frame styles offered when the glasses hit the market in late October / early November for €300.
Jakkyll Hde 2-in-1 Helmet
Uvex also had a prototype of their upcoming two-in-one helmet on display, Called the Jakkyl Hde (yes, that's how they spell it - it's the German equivalent to Jekyll and Hyde), the helmet has two dials that can be turned to release the laminated fiberglass chin bar for those long uphill slogs, and then it can be quickly reinstalled before the fun begins.
The final weight is expected to be 630 grams, a very competitive number for this style of helmet. Other features include a retention system that uses BOA's ratcheting dial to adjust the fit around the head, and a visor with enough range of motion to fit goggles underneath. Final safety standard certifications are still underway, but Uvex say that they're planning on having it meet all of the EU standards as well as those required by the CPSC. Expect the Jakkyl Hde to retail for €199 when it becomes available in Spring 2016.