You might remember Google Glass. This was a smart product you placed on your nose that offered everything and anything, but in reality it was awful. Google Glass ended up being used to record every face-to-face human interaction the user had during the day. It did not take long before Google Glass faded away into the darkness. However, the idea itself stayed. A 3D printing service is now used to create a new, but similar product. It is called Smart Lens, and you can learn more about it below.
If you were one of the people who actually liked Google Glass and did not want it to disappear, you are in luck. The next generation of smart glasses might end up onto your face quite soon. This is done by a company called Luxexcel, which creates lenses by using 3D printing. Luxexcel has their headquarter in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The producer has been 3D printing lenses since 2009. They hold patents for a few of the main technologies used for 3D printing lenses. These patents are the core of their VisionPlatform. This includes a 3D printer, a collection of custom resins for printing lenses, and the proprietary software to design and print lenses. These can be used for traditional glasses, but also for smart varieties. The lenses are printed in the normal way, but during the printing the process is paused. This moment the electronic hardware is placed on the lens surface. Afterwards the printer is resumed so the electronics will be seamlessly encased with the lens body.
Why 3D print lenses?
One of the main reasons to use 3D printing in order to create lenses is because the normal manner is quite dangerous. This is mainly the case since the ground lens edges are extremely sharp, which will definitely result in cuts. Normally a lens manufacturer will take a glass lens blank from a mixture of optical options based on the customer requirements. Afterwards it will be loaded into a grinding machine with the tooling to shape the front and back of the lens. The machine is pumped full of milky abrasive fluid. After this process has been completed, it will be placed onto another machine to be polished. The lenses are then removed and cut down to shape so it fits the spectacle frame. By using 3D printing this can be done much easier, while it will cost much less as well.