3D Scanning & 3D Printing for a Perfect Fit: Meet Skelmet’s 3D Printed Sports Sunglasses
I have bad luck with sunglasses – or maybe it’s less bad luck and more user error, as I tend to drop things a lot, and leave things places, and step on things. I’m also cheap and rarely spend more than $15 or so on sunglasses, so I shouldn’t be surprised that they tend to fall apart – though I’m still vexed that I managed to break my last pair simply by putting on a headband while wearing them. Even pricey, well-made sunglasses, however, have their disadvantages, especially for athletes who depend on them to stay in place during heavy activity.
“If your glasses don’t fit, they can bounce around, flip down your nose or fog up,” says Rain Wang, triathlete, tennis player, and co-founder and COO of Skelmet. “Those problems can affect your performance whether you’re cycling, running or motorcycling.”
Wang, who is also a mathematician, founded Skelmet with engineer James Cao, who describes himself as a “part-time motorcycle and gadget enthusiast.” Both of them had experienced the difficulties caused by ill-fitting sunglasses and helmets, so they decided to put their expertise towards developing a solution in the form of customized wearables designed to protect the head and face. Their first product, the Falcon 1 3D Print Sport Sunglasses, is now on Indiegogo.
Skelmet created a specialized app that allows users to scan their own heads and faces – or, if they’re not experienced with 3D scanning, they can visit one of Skelmet’s partners, which include hundreds of sporting goods stores and bike shops, to have a trained professional take the scan. The scan takes less than two minutes, and maps 86 data points on the face. Skelmet then uses their patented “3D Fit” algorithms to create a pair of sunglasses that perfectly fits the user’s face.
Skelmet has created what they state is the “world’s first and largest head and face scan database,” consisting of more than 3,500 data entries.
“Traditional one-size-fits-all products fit less than 15% of people, but our custom Skelmet Falcon sunglasses can satisfy over 98% of the population,” the company states.
The sunglasses are 3D printed using SLS technology, and according to Wang, they’re the lightest 3D printed sunglasses in the world – and by now we’ve seen several options made possible thanks to 3D printing technology – weighing only 17 grams. They’re also sweat- and impact-resistant, and they’re 3D printed with air circulation channels that allow maximum ventilation and prevent fogging. Contact pressure control means that the glasses won’t press into your face – no more red raccoon eyes.
The custom fit also means that light won’t leak in around the edges, and once the Indiegogo campaign ends, customers will be able to choose from lots of options. I never realized that differently-colored sunglass lenses had a purpose beyond making you look super-cool, but it turns out that there’s a lot of nuance involved in the shade of your shades. Gray-green lenses heighten contrast and are ideal for activities that take place on grass, while mirrored pink lenses enhance road visibility. Customers will be able to choose from those and several other colors, as well as frame colors and even prescription options.
Skelmet is trying to raise $50,000 through Indiegogo over the next month, and perks for backers range from a single customized pair of sunglasses for an early bird price of $199 to a “team edition” 10-pack, complete with etched team name and logo, for $2,449. Shipping is estimated for September of 2017.
In the future, Skelmet plans to offer additional products such as helmets, sports goggles and snow goggles. If, for whatever reason, your glasses or helmet don’t fit you perfectly, the company will replace them for free, no questions asked. I’d definitely pay more than $15 for that. Discuss in the Skelmet forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: SportTechie / Images: Skelmet]
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