Final product!

Like all my hacks, these start with a problem. I got a new job. That’s not the problem; don’t rush me. I got this job, and my work is all about concentration. At this new job, there are TVs all over the place, with sports playing. Televisions are infinitely distracting. So, naturally, I tried to come up with a technical solution. First, I thought about using a TV-B-Gone remote, and even bought one (that name is trademarked, hence the less catchy title of this post). However, other folks in the office like having them on, and some even need them to do their jobs. So, I needed to block it, but only for myself.

Then, I had a little luck. In the office, there are some 3d screens, with glasses. I was waiting on a meeting, and put on the glasses, and looked at a normal screen, and saw that out of the 3d glasses, one eye couldn’t see the normal screen at all. This connected with a memory of 2d glasses, which are for viewing 3d movies without the 3d (handy for folks who get motion sick, or are annoyed by gimmicks). In a regular TV (these days), the light is all polarized one direction; for a 3d screen, one eye is polarized one way, ant the other perpendicular. All I had to do was take a linear polarizer, rotate it the right way, and keep it between my eyes and the television.

So, armed with the knowledge that the right angle of polarizing film blocks the light from the TV, I made the first version. Cheap fashion glasses and polarizing film. Pop out the lenses that came with the glasses, then hold the film up to a television and turn it until the tv goes dark. Mark that orientation, and cut out lens shapes. Put these in the grooves in the glasses, and it should work. If they don’t fit, you can trim them until they do.

Picture through version 1. The TV on the right is off; the one on the left is on. Note that the Thunderbolt Display is unaffected

As you can see from the picture above, they worked, but they were pretty wobbly; the film had to be cut just so to stay in the grooves of the glasses. So, I made another version. I knew from previous experience that welding/cutting goggles were great for this sort of thing; flat, round lenses that are made to be interchangeable. And, because of my photography, I knew that linear polarizers come in the right size. So I got these glasses and two of these filters. Take the super dark lenses that came with the glasses out and put the filters in, so that the frames grip the filter threads. These filters are made to spin freely, so they can be oriented.

To use the glasses, simply put them on, look at the television, and turn them until the picture is darkest.

a gif of the shades in action