by Guido Groet – Chief Strategy Officer Luxexcel
Thirteen years ago Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone to the world. At that time, many cynics dismissed the device as a toy for computer nerds. In just a very short period smartphones have become a device that dominates our lives. The expectation is that eyewear will make a similar transition as our phones from just ordinary prescription eyeglasses to a device with integrated smart functionality.
And that’s exactly what smart eyewear is: it’s essentially traditional eyeglasses but with integrated smart functionality. A problem is that eyecare professionals are experts at providing prescription eyeglasses to consumers. They don’t make electronic devices. Device manufacturers, in turn, are not eyecare experts. To make prescription lens integration a key feature of smart eyewear you need a combination of skills in ophthalmics and technology.
That’s not to say that smart glasses launched to the market haven’t tried to address users’ prescription requirements. Microsoft HoloLens, for example, addresses prescription requirements by offering users inserts. Some companies have tried to glue a front and a back prescription lens on both sides of a waveguide. Both these options result in a large, heavy-weight device that includes a host of other challenges like creating excessive glare for the user.
The traditional eyeglasses industry, in turn, has also not made any strides to adopt smart eyewear. At SPIE AR, VR, MR 2021 an important industry conference, it was presented that smart eyewear will never be offered to mainstream consumers as an alternative to their traditional glasses. This statement comes as little surprise as the traditional eyewear industry has been slow to adopt modern technologies to manufacture lenses. Eyewear manufacturers still use time-consuming legacy methods to make lenses which include thirty or more process steps to make a single lens.
For eyewear to make the leap to ‘smart’ the traditional eyewear and smart industries will need to merge. Luxexcel is the ‘bridge’ between these two vital, but separated worlds that need to seamlessly blend to bring prescription smart eyewear to life for consumers.
We do this with our 3D printing technology that integrates smart technologies, such as waveguides, holographic optical elements, and more, into 3D printed prescription lenses. Now there’s no need for smart eyewear developers to become opticians, and vice versa. We make prescription lens integration in smart eyewear a reality today at the push of a button.
To learn more about the different types of smart technologies that we can integrate into 3D printed prescription lenses, download our comprehensive fifty-page Technical Guide or watch our presentation given at the recent SPIE AR, VR, MR industry conference.
6 benefits: Why 3D printing is the preferred method to integrate smart technologies into prescription lenses
- Smart technologies are fully protected from all sides during the 3D printing process ensuring better transmission of loads, protection from moisture contamination, and the inclusion of particles are also avoided.
- The high accuracy of optical 3D printing correctly aligns the optical paths between the prescription and the functional part of the smart device, which results in optimal vision for both the real and the virtual worlds.
- The integration of objects during 3D printing reduces the thickness of lenses resulting in fashionable designs and lightweight smart eyewear.
- Smart technologies are fully encased which means that users are protected in case of breakage of the inserted glass device.
- During 3D printing not only the prescription part is printed but also mounting for the projector. There is perfect alignment between the projector, the waveguide, and the prescription lens resulting in an optimal image.
- Prescription smart eyewear can be manufactured in
We’re making a selected number of demonstrators of prescription smart eyewear available to customers at a cost. Please indicate your interest by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author: As the Chief Strategy Officer, Guido Groet assists high-tech companies to leverage Luxexcel’s patented 3D printing technology to make better products while addressing the vision correction needs of customers.