Luxexcel – the company that pioneered material jetting technology for ophthalmic lens production – is preparing to meet the demand for prescription smart lenses for the next phase of growth in the smart glasses market. This just as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a high profile partnership with Ray-Ban owner Luxottica on the production of smartglasses starting in 2021.
Facebook and Luxottica will make the glasses as part of a multiyear partnership that was first announced last year. “After spending time with their team and visiting their factory, I knew that they were the right partner for us to help bring the best technology together with the best glasses,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a live stream from Facebook Connect, the company’s online event for its virtual and augmented reality products.
The main problem with all smart glasses and smart eyewear in general – and the reason why Google Glasses and other VR and AR wear have been doomed from the start – is that they are bulky and uncomfortable. But, even more relevant, is the fact that almost everyone needs different prescriptions. In order for AR and VR wear to be “wearable” they need to be able to integrate prescriptions in the smart lenses. Luxexcel promises to be able to do just that. How? By leveraging 3D printing’s ability to make mass customization more cost-effective.
Luxexcel introduced its volume manufacturing solution to 3D print smart prescription lenses to the smart eyewear market and has subsequently strengthened its leadership team to support this move. The company is now geared to enable high-tech companies to make a better smart eyewear product while at the same time, addressing the vision correction needs of their customers.
Our mature volume manufacturing solution enables our customers to combine prescription with smart technology to create regular-looking lenses with advanced smart features, yet personalized to the user’s prescription requirements;” said Fabio Esposito, Chief Executive Officer at Luxexcel. “ The platform is scalable and offers the flexibility to create large volumes of products with individualized specifications, such as prescription power.” Luxexcel’s 3D printing solution encompasses proprietary hardware, material, and software.
The 3D printing solution prints on different materials, including various plastic and glass types, and also fulfills customers’ airgap requirements. As a result, smart devices such as waveguides, holographic films, and LCD screens are embedded inside a lens and prescription power is printed on top or around it. The result is a lens with embedded devices presented as one seamlessly integrated element. Luxexcel enables smart glasses manufacturers to make a unique device with the patient’s customized prescription resulting in a better visual experience for the user. “The benefit for end-users is that they no longer need to wear their prescription glasses underneath their smart eyewear goggles. They can now experience both corrective vision and augmented reality in one single product,” Esposito explained.
Esposito continues that Luxexcel’s leadership team consists of all the skills required to help customers bring smart products to the eyewear market. The leadership team also includes: Guido Groet as the Chief Strategy Officer, Joost van Abeelen as Chief Product Officer responsible for material, hardware and software development and 3D printing strategies, Alexander van der Touw as Chief Financial Officer and Xander van Mechelen as the Chief Commercial Officer who supports partners to transition from traditional eyewear to the world of 3D printed lenses by creating new go-to-market offerings such as electrochromic prescription lenses.