Last week, POC released some highlights of their new 2020 gear that will be on display at Eurobike later this month. Among them, the new Aspire Solar Switch sunglasses feature an electrochromic LCD lens that instantly and automatically changes tint depending on the intensity of ambient light. POC claims that these sunglasses can significantly improve vision, along with safety and performance in changing weather, light conditions or environments, such as descending through mountain tunnels.
The new Aspire’s Solar Switch lens provides a darker tint in sunnier conditions and instantly becomes lighter in shadow or cloud conditions. The Solar Switch changes tints (between levels 3-4) instantaneously and automatically ensuring you never need to remove your hands from the bike or take your glasses off at speed.
Normally to change tint, sunglasses feature photochromic lenses. Photochromic lenses work with molecules that darken when activated by the sun’s UV rays. This type of lens typically changes tints at a slower rate than an electrochromic design, making them less than ideal for situations where a quick change is necessary (like heading into a tunnel). By comparison, electrochromic lenses rely on organic materials captured between two sheets of glass that changes transparency in response to a small electric current–the electric nature makes it more instantaneous.
Other electrochromic sunglasses and goggles, like Spy’s ONE lens, rely on a rechargeable battery and power switch to set off the electric current needed to change tint. Uniquely, the Aspire Solar Switch has been developed to be powered only by the sun’s solar power, needing no battery or charging so it will always be there, sustainable, and reliable.
I look forward to seeing these in person over in Friedrichshafen in a few weeks time.