Automatic LCD Sunglasses

This week I completed a hack I’ve been working on for a few weeks. It all started with Ben Heck’s automatic sunglasses hack. He used an MCU and a photocell to flip down some shades in front of his glasses using some mini servos. I figured I could come up with something simpler and indeed I have.
These automatic sunglasses are based on active shutter 3D glasses used for viewing 3D TV and video. I found a couple of pairs on ebay for about $13 each. I opened them up and started hackin! What you see in the pics and video below are the results. I built a light detector circuit with a photocell and a transistor which allows voltage to flow to the LCD which turns it dark. A 1K ohm resistor serves to discharge the LCD and make it go back to clear quickly.

NOTE! If you decide to build these you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK! These glasses are made of thin glass and if broken while wearing them could cause damage to your eye or even blind you. I also make no claim that they actually filter out harmful UV rays. That said, this is a proof of concept hack that can teach you about a light detector circuit and how to use an LM317T voltage regulator.

Be safe, have fun and…
keep on hackin!

7 thoughts on “Automatic LCD Sunglasses

  1. In the video when dis-charging the capacitor there is slow transfer from dark to transparent. This made me think.
    1) If you could somehow maintain apropriate voltage, couldn’t you control the transparency (not just a switch from transparent to dark, but transparency based on intensity of light)
    2) How fast do they really turn? If very fast, could the same effect be achieved by frequency of switching these on and off?

  2. Hi I was wondering if you could attach a potentiometer to the glasses like a dimmer switch. Did the A 555 timer work?

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