Tomorrow in Munich the doors will open at Opti, an international trade show for optics and design that attracts exhibitors and visitors from around the world. The show, which has been going on for ten years now, will dedicate a portion of its space to looking back at its own history and the groundbreaking products that have made it a center of attention for those interested in eyewear. But they aren’t going to be looking into their past so deeply that they won’t do what they have become known for: provide an opportunity to introduce the latest in cutting edge optics.
Last year, HOYA wowed us with the introduction of Yuniku, a system that allows for scanning a customer’s face, creating eyewear that has optimally positioned lenses, customizes the frame to fit both the lenses and the customer’s face, and finally actually 3D prints the frames themselves. This intriguing new method for the creation of custom eyewear was the result of a collaboration between HOYA, Hoet Design Studio, and Materialise. One of the hot new developments to look for this year comes from a partnership that includes Aoyama Optical in addition to Materialise, Hoet and HOYA. This latest collaboration in customized eyewear will be comprised of 3D printed frames and promises to be, well, eye-catching to say the least. This display will provide a glimpse at what is to be on offer when the Yuniku system is officially launched.In the larger context, what this indicates is that 3D printing is becoming an increasingly normalized method for developing and producing fashionable eyewear. It’s not just that frames are 3D printed, but also that 3D printing helps to match them to our faces, something which anybody who wears glasses has fantasized about at least once. Aoyama CEO Philippe Beuscart explained the attraction to these technologies:
“Standardized production and a one-size-fits-all approach are no longer enough. We offer customizable options that speak directly to an individual’s tastes and preferences. Aoyama’s goal with this collection was to bring true mass customization to a luxury consumer-grade product.”
The idea of providing specific eyewear for each individual doesn’t, technically, make it unique, but the point appears to be, rather, that each individual is unique and, given the number of configurations of eyewear + facial type, mathematically that is almost the same thing. The beautifully shot black and white promotional video for Yuniku eyewear does an excellent job of showcasing eyes, the attribute that is most often obscured by glasses rather than supported by them. Unfortunately, it works against itself somewhat in that at no point during the video, or anywhere on their website, do any of the models actually wear glasses. In fact, only the briefest glimpse of the eyewear is given and the majority of the video dedicated to artistic pandering.Perhaps this is in an effort to maintain the mystique of the big reveal at Opti. It looks like this might be the wave of the future in terms of eyewear, at least for anyone who doesn’t buy their glasses off the revolving rack at the local drugstore. The question that still exists is: is the technology cooler than the product? If the product is worthwhile without the technology, then it has staying power. If the glasses are amazing just because of their process, then it will only be a matter of time before the next great invention knocks 3D printing out of its seat. Discuss in the 3D Printed Eyewear forum at 3DPB.com. [Source: Materialise]