rig-technology | sweet protection

The science behind RIG®

RIG stands for Retina Illumination Grading and is Sweet Protections revolutionary and proprietary lens technology made to enhance the contrasts on the mountain when skiing or riding.

Through a thorough understanding of light, colours and the mountain environment Sweet Protections new lens technology enables the user to experience:

  • Increased contrast
  • Reduced eye fatigue
  • Natural colour perception
  • Great depth perception
  • Blockage of harmful light

In order to explain exactly what RIG does and how we achieve the objective of enhancing the contrasts on the mountain we have to take a step back to the basic physics classes.

What is light?

Visible light is electromagnetic radiation within a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum:

em spectrum

Figure 1: Wikipedia

In order to keep this fairly straightforward for a layman you may say that visible light is seen as all the colours ranging from red to Violet (Remember ROY G BIV from school?). These colours are dependent on the wavelength and frequency of the electromagnetic radiation. Sweet Protection discovered that we were able to filter out or boost certain colours in the visible light. By having this knowledge, we understood that in order to develop the worlds best lenses we needed to get a thorough understanding of how the human eye worked and the mountain environment.

We started out by understanding which colours are present in the environment we’re operating in, and what Hues (One of the main properties, colour appearance parameters, of a color. Source of these colours are important. (Wikipedia)

Blue Light

Blue light has the shortest wavelength of the visible light spectrum (fig. 1), and blue rays with the shortest wavelengths have the most energy. Blue light is generally defined as visible light ranging from 390 to 500 nano meters (nm). Since the entire visible spectrum ranges from 390nm to 700nm, blue light makes up approximately one-third of all visible light. Our main source of blue light is sunlight.

Above the range of visible light, ultraviolet light becomes invisible to humans, mostly because it is absorbed by the cornea below 360 nm and the internal lens below 400 nm. The human eye cannot detect the very short (below 360 nm) ultraviolet wavelengths and are in fact damaged by ultraviolet. (Source: Wikipedia)

We therefore stated that we want to block all light that have a higher frequency than what is visible (UV-light) in order to not harm the eye.

However, further research found that visible blue light also has a harmful effect as well and needs to be controlled. A Harvard medical study states that "High Energy Visible (HEV) blue light has been identified for years as the most dangerous light for the retina". This means that everyone needs to take precautions against the effects of blue light. Whether we work in an office or play in the sun; spend hours staring at a computer screen or texting on our cell phones, we are all being exposed to blue light.

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Exposure to Blue Light

Despite the fact that the eye is good at blocking UV rays from reaching the retina, the eye is not very good at blocking blue light. Virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. The effect of this exposure is cumulative, and the total number of exposure hours is what matters.

Sweet Protection also found that the high energy blue light scatter more in the eye and is not as easily focused. This scatter creates "visual noise" that reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.

Green and yellow light

During our testing Sweet Protection discovered that if we completely remove some of the colors, such as green and yellow, we create a loss of depth perception. We believe that all colors needs to be present in order for the brain to receive enough information to fully understand its surroundings. Sweet Protection therefore need to keep some light transmission throughout the entire spectrum and thereby provide natural perception of colours as well as providing great depth perception.

Red Light

On the mountain there is very little colours present. There is very little information on the mountain as worst case is only snow and natural light being present. By increasing the transmittance of red colours, we increased the colour definition and sharpened perception. In order to boost contrast the transmittance curve has a peak at 670nm in order to capture most of the red sunlight being reflected off surfaces.

Sweet Protection RIG lenses

To accommodate a variety of usages and situations we have developed 4 different RIG lenses. There is no point in having a clear RIG lens, given that a clear lens doesn't really manipulate the light.

As you can see below all of the four lenses work with the available light in different ways in order to create the absolute best working conditions for the human eye.

rig lens technology transmission

By being able to truly fine-tune the production of our lenses and how we let the different wavelengths be transmitted we could make lenses that is a revolution in how you perceive the surroundings on the mountain. We were able to truly enhance the contrasts enabling the skier to go faster, with more confidence.



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