Can’t see a thing because your glasses keep steaming up? Science to the rescue!

A light coating of gold and your spectacles could be several degrees warmer and 100% less foggy. And the same goes for your car windscreen

Name: Anti-fog glasses.

Age: So they were working on the basis of this technology back in 2019 but …

Sorry to interrupt, but I’m just having bit of trouble reading. It’s this cold weather – makes my glasses mist up [removes them, uses snotty tissue to wipe]. That’s a bit better, for now. Well, as luck would have it, there may be help available.

Saved! Go on. Scientists have developed a coating that stops condensation forming on your eyewear.

Which scientists? Where? A team led by Professors Dimos Poulikakos and Thomas M Schutzius at the ETH Zurich research institute in Switzerland.

Never heard of them. They sound legit though. Very much so. And the results were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

How does it work then? Traditional anti-fog sprays work by coating surfaces with molecules that attract water to make an even, see-through surface. This new coating actually prevents condensation forming, by warming the surface of the glass by up to 8C.

Kind of like the heated rear window of a car? Exactly.

Does that mean I’m going to have my view impeded by a maze of wires, and have a dirty great car battery strapped to the back of my head? Might as well fit wipers, too, why don’t you? No, this coating is able to absorb infrared radiation from the sun, which warms the glass. The researchers say it could be used for car windscreens, too.

Science is amazing. What’s the coating made of? Gold!

Always believe in your soul, you’ve got the power to know …”

Sandwiched between two layers of titanium oxide.

“You’re indestructible, Always believe in …” Hang on, how am I supposed to see through all this metal? We’re talking nanoparticles here. The whole coating is one 12th the thickness of gold leaf – it’s completely transparent.

Isn’t gold famously quite expensive though? Again, nanoparticles, remember. Very little gold is needed. The researchers say material costs aren’t high, but they are also looking into other less expensive metals.

I don’t think Profs Poulikakos and Schtuzius know where I get my glasses. Specsavers?

The internet. Also Poundland (guess how much they are). I buy loads, and just leave them around the places I might need them. Yeah, but they’re going to steam up, aren’t they? Especially when people start masking up again to avoid all the winter bugs.

Do say: “Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us,” as Henri Matisse once proclaimed.

Don’t say: “Yeah, very clever, Profs Poulikakos and Schutzius. But what about at night, when there’s less infrared light around? Eh?”

• This article was amended on 15 December 2022. An earlier version misspelled the surname of Prof Thomas M Schutzius.

The GuardianTramp

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