Correction: There are other examples of sound-reactive sunglasses available online, like this one from ch00ftech.com, that date back to December 2011, as well as other types of sound reactive sunglasses available on Amazon.
A group of TCU students created Drop Shades, sound reactive sunglasses that dance to the beat of music.
“The sunglasses use a combination of sound reactive technology and electroluminescent wire that cascade up and down depending on the beat,” junior political science major Harrison Herndon said.
The sunglasses light up depending on the duration and decibel of the sound that determines how many sound bars are activated, Herndon said.
“Nick [Cate] and I came up with the idea of Drop Shades while we attended a concert,” Herndon said. “We got the idea from a sound activated t-shirt and we were surprised no one ever incorporated the idea into eyewear.”
Although Herndon and senior engineering major Nick Cate said that they tried to search the Internet for equalizing sunglasses but couldn’t find any, an amazon.com search for "sound reactive glasses" returned one result. Another example at ch00ftech.com dates back to December 2011.
“We started figuring out that we can connect electroluminescent wire to a sound reactive circuit and we can multiply the amount of wires and put them on glasses to create the product,” Herndon said. “At this time they are running off an AA battery.”
Cate said the team built the first prototype themselves in order to start showcasing the product.
“The first prototypes were proof of concept to show people and investors and to try and kickstart the project,” Cate said. “We have some engineers working on the final prototypes that we will be selling.”
After playing around with names like Wave Bands and Cascade Shades, the name Drop Shades was chosen because it better suited the target audience, Herndon said.
“We think it relates more to our target audience who hopefully are people who go to electronic concerts,” said Herndon. “The drop of energy and the creation of what the word drop has become in the last few years is what we want our product to be associated.”
Senior entrepreneurial management major Skylar Perkins said the team will be using a website called Kickstarter to launch the product in mid-May.
“Kickstarter allows the general public to help fund the initial investment by preordering different rewards like Drop Shades, stickers or t-shirts,” Perkins said.
Perkins said the team is using different forms of social media to advertise Drop Shades.
“The way we are promoting them now is through music blogs and through social media like Vine, Twitter and Facebook,” Perkins said. “We are using a network of DJs that advocate and help advertise our product.”
Senior engineering major Ryan Murphy has had to opportunity to play with the prototype.
“It's a really innovative design and I'm sure it will become very popular at concerts,” Murphy said. “It’s great to see TCU students combine their passion for music with their engineering and entrepreneurial skills to develop marketable products.”