The super-thin ThinOptics reading glasses slip inside their own smartphone case

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Jon Phillips

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LAS VEGAS—You’re 45 years old. You can’t read restaurant menus. You can’t read any small type without reading glasses—and the four pairs you own are nowhere in sight. It’s a laughably common problem that ThinOptics aims to fix with a wonderfully canny solution. The ThinOptics readers are so slim and light, they slip directly into special accessory smartphone cases, and then grip the bridge of your nose with confidence and aplomb when it’s time to do some reading.

File these reading glasses under “Why didn’t someone think of this idea sooner?” Well, in fact, the ThinOptics readers have been in development for a number of years, and have gone through numerous prototype iterations.

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The ThinOptics bridge is remarkably adept at keeping the specs on your face without the need for traditional ear temples.

Key to the final design is a special strong and flexible titanium alloy in ThinOptics’ nose bridge. Along with “independent suspension” nose pads, the bridge really does clamp down on your nose with reliable confidence, and obviates the need for traditional ear temples.

I’m wearing ThinOptics as I type this article, and as I shake my head with vim and fury, I can’t knock the glasses loose. It’s like they’re glued down to my face—and yet they’re not. These readers are also remarkably thin and light, so they shouldn’t add much bulk when you slip them into whatever case accessory you end up buying. The glasses are only as thick as a nickle, but between their shatterproof glass and alloy hardware, the manufacturer insists they’ll stand up to all the use and abuse of traditional readers.

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Here we see the custom cases for two iPhones.

Jon Phillip

ThinOptics currently come in two colors (black and clear) and three strengths: +1.5, +2.0 and +2.5. There are cases for iPhone 4 through iPhone 6 Plus—those run $39 with the glasses included. You’ll pay the same prices for packages that support the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5. If you own any other type of smartphone, you can purchase a $25 “universal pod” package that will stick to your phone or existing case with adhesive.

Why this matters: Well, if you’re under the age of 40, the ThinOptics probably don’t matter. But middle age creeps up quickly, missy, and when it does, your eyesight will deteriorate, and you’ll join the rest of us who have to cope with the all-too-common-refrain, “Now where did I leave those things?” The world goes gaga over sexier smartphone accessories like special camera lenses and even integrated battery packs. But if you can’t even see what’s on your phone, then what’s the point of the phone in the first place?

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