It isn’t magic, but this new technology developed by “Out Of” surely looks like it.
The Italian startup was founded in 2017 by two brothers: Federico, a physicist, and Roberto, an industrial designer.
“The aim since the beginning has been to create innovative products to make everyone’s life easier on the mountains” says founder and CEO Federico, “that’s why we started designing ski goggles”.
“Electra”, patent pending, is their latest invention and ISPO, the biggest sport fair in the world, has elected it as best product in the “sport optics” category (ski goggles and sunglasses) for the year 2021, defining it “a real breakthrough in goggles design”.
Furthermore, within the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Awards, opened to any product category, Electra has been selected as one of the 15 best products in Europe among more than 2000 participants.
The lens is composed by a small solar cell that powers a proprietary chip and a special LCD film. The chip constantly works to adapt the LCD’s tint to the ambient light conditions.
What does it do? It provides the user with the best light filter for any situation, almost instantly.
Let’s say a person is skiing during a sunny day when he suddenly enters a shaded area. Electra understands that there has been a light change and immediately, in less than a second, adjusts the lens’ tint making it lighter.
Then, the shaded part ends and our skier finds himself in the sun again: Electra detects that and darkens the lens accordingly.
“It covers any tint between the maximum activation and the minimum, using the whole range that goes from 18% to 42% of transmission.” adds Federico.
No battery, no buttons, no setup
“The best part is that the user doesn’t have to do anything: there are no buttons to push, no weird cables… You simply put it on and it works. There isn’t even a battery.” says Roberto, product manager.
Yes, no batteries: Electra is powered directly by the sun’s energy.
The advantages of this solution are many:
– Electra doesn’t need to be charged
– it is light (only 5 grams more than regular ski goggles)
– batteries and cold weather don’t get along: Electra’s lifetime isn’t dictated by the battery’s life
– it will never die when needed the most
Thinking about the solutions currently available on the market it’s impossible not to compare Electra to photochromic lenses. “Their function is roughly the same, but the technology is completely different” explains Roberto, “photochromic lenses use pigments that get activated with UV rays and they work well with slow light changes; yet, it can take them more than 5 minutes to become completely deactivated. Electra on the other hand is almost instantaneous and when it comes to drastic, sudden light changes that is key.”
Let’s talk about resistance
Professional freestyle skier Fabian Boesch (2 world cup medals and 1 Xgames gold medal) has been testing Electra for the past season and the goggles have aced the test. “It’s the best lens I’ve ever tried” confirms Fabian.
The LCD and the electronics are secured between two polycarbonate lenses. Even though the chip and the screen are water friendly, protecting them from natural elements increases their durability in time and makes the goggles “adventure ready”.
Electra works great for any enthusiast, or pro, who is tired of interchanging lenses trying to keep up with the ever changing light conditions.
Innovation as always comes with an important price tag. These goggles can be purchased directly on the out-of website, or from one of their resellers spread around the world, for 429€.
Rumors have it that Out Of is about to launch the “Electra sunglasses” as well, so other interesting products are for sure on their way.