Electrochrome, a startup founded by six U materials science and engineering students and a Weber State University student, plans to give thrill seekers a new view of Utah’s slopes. Historically, winter sports enthusiasts have coped with ever-changing daylight by wearing snow googles that use multiple interchangeable lenses, requiring wearers to stop and swap lenses.

To eliminate this inconvenience, the startup is developing an electrochromic coating called Active Tint Control for snow goggles. The technology promises to seamlessly adjust daytime vision via a switch on goggles’ strap.

“As skiers, it seemed obvious that adjustable tint would be useful, especially since the current lens-switching technique is such a hassle,” says Max Gallant, U student and startup member.

The electrochromic materials at the heart of Active Tint Control belong to a class of ceramic smart materials that change opacity in response to applied voltage. Upon sliding the goggles’ switch, a jolt of electric charge is applied causing the ions to move across the lens to darken or lighten it.

Enthusiastic reception of Electrochrome has encouraged the group to continue conducting materials research. With support from the university and an outside investor, the startup will work on a prototype during the 2014–15 academic year as a senior design project.

Learn more about Electrochrome by contacting Max Gallant.