Coming out of Screen as itself, the diffraction layer continues to be one of the most amusing of the screen filter layers. To look through the plastic is to look through the screen onto a distorted world. In this experiment, I created a pair of glasses with this filter as the lens. Is this an alternative screen? Is this how the inside seems? What other wearable accessories emerge?
Diffraction layerThe idea to design glasses emerged when I took a screen apart in class. Fellow students were fascinated with the plastic layers and naturally brought them up to their eyes like a lens. For the user, they see a warped world, while onlookers see an amusingly distorted face.
The glasses provided a conceptual framework in which to explore laser cutting. For a while, I have been interested in living hinges, which is a flexible joint cut out of the material itself that enables rigid plastic to bend without breaking. The hinge, being made from the same material in which it is connecting, mirrors the meta-study of the screen. I used a template for the design from .
A quick prototype of the glasses using plastic frames, a rough cutout of lenses and double-sided tape.
TestsThe glasses function and stay on my head! I also got the workshop hand to try on the prototype; his nose bridge is higher, so the glasses sat on his face better. For me, it required a little more fiddling. As such, the template needs a little tweaking so that it fits more comfortably on the head. I'm not a product designer so I can only go so far with the ergonomics of the design.
Final productLaser cut glasses with diffractive lens. They are not for everyday wear but if you seek a different view of the world, these glasses are perfect.
Screen as a backdrop
In the product shots, I used a screen as the background for the image. When tilting the iMac screen, I noticed that the colours changed quite drastically. By photographing at a side angle, I was able to achieve the unique colour and texture of the screen.
The new piece in the collection is a deconstructed iPhone screen. A chain can be thread through the hole cut out for the home button. The screen has mirrored sheets inside, so the necklace can double up as a portable mirror.
Try it yourself
Download the Illustrator laser cutting template for the glasses . I used 2mm clear acrylic and the coloured lines are specified for my laser cutting machines. Results may vary due to the material or laser cutter.