Sunglasses that promise a real-life Instagram filter

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Here’s one way to brighten your day.

Sunglasses exist for two reasons: to make you look cooler and to shield your eyes from the sun. But what if they could change your outlook too?

A new Wayfarer-esque design called Tens promises to “transform life into an Instagram filter” with plastic lenses that wash everything you see with a retro haze. “Typical sunglasses block out the light with desaturated, cold colours,” the brand’s Indiegogo page says. “Tens work with the warmth of the sun to lend an uplifting tint to the world beyond the lens.” 

Tens is based in Edinburgh, which on a winter’s day gets on average just one hour of sun. But the company is setting some high expectations for the sunglasses’ effect on wearers’ moods. ”It’s upset, happy, upset, happy,” says a woman in the promotional video, as she pantomimes taking the sunglasses on and off.

It’s actually not so far-fetched to think that tinted lenses could alter our perception of the world. Researchers have found that our trust in medicines, for instance, is tied to their color, and that the shade of a room helps determine our psychological state. One study even demonstrated the reverse—that our moods change the way things look through our eyes. And a 2010 study by researchers at the University of Toronto showed that simply wearing sunglasses gives people a measurable moral detachment by producing feelings of anonymity.

Tens is also an interesting example of how digital technology can affect our behavior even when we’re disconnected from it. When we’re used to staring at screens all day, perhaps it’s not surprising that we want the ability to adjust the settings on life, too.