Matt Mead, a business owner, was annoyed. He had installed an expensive video-conferencing network throughout his business, but the natural light in his window-filled offices were making people appear like silhouettes on the screen. He didn’t want to ruin the aesthetic with blinds or curtains, or sacrifice the positive psychological effects attributed to natural light.

So he had an idea: coat the windows with a material that would block only the disruptive wavelengths of sunlight while letting the rest in. When he brought the idea to an engineer, the creative juices started flowing and soon they weren’t just talking about improving video-conference calls.

They were talking about creating a product that would solve a more pernicious and widespread office challenge: striking a balance between privacy and transparency; community and security. With their Casper Cloaking Technology, which blocks out all the wavelengths emitted by LED and LCD screens, companies can offer privacy and transparency at once.

Sensitive information can be shared in fishbowl conference rooms on large-scale monitor displays, and everything in the room is visible except what’s on the screens. Company leaders can take a glass walled office in the center of the company but still keep their screens private.

Then someone made it into glasses

Enter Scott Blew, an entrepreneur and engineer in Los Angeles who was looking for a way to get away from screens and everything that comes along with them: stressful news, tabloid drama, and social media.

But even when reducing his own technology use, he couldn’t get away from screens. They were everywhere: in bars and restaurants, coffee shops and cafes, in the grocery store checkout line, even at the gas station pump.

He recalled reading an article about the about a screen-blocking film, and reached out to Steelcase, Matt Mead’s company, to order a sample. He popped out the lenses on some cheap sunglasses and voilà, the IRL Glasses were born.

Their Kickstarter campaign blew through their initial fundraising goal of $25,000. As of this writing, they have raised over $120,000.

It looks like Scott isn’t the only person looking for a refuge from technology. If you are too, $98 currently gets you two pairs of glasses, with delivery expected December 2018.

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