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Optiswiss and Luxexcel collaborate on 3D-printed lenses for eyewear

13 Sep 2021

Dutch and Swiss firms target prescription spectacles and AR smart glasses.

Luxexcel, the Eindhoven-based company whose equipment is used to 3D-print optical components, has signed a deal with lens distributor Optiswiss targeting both the emerging field of augmented reality (AR) glasses and regular spectacles.

The two firms say that the partnership will see Luxexcel provide its new “VisionPlatform 7” 3D printing lens technology, with Optiswiss producing prescription lenses for the smart eyewear market at its industrial facility in Basel, Switzerland.

“This shared strategy will accelerate the delivery of ‘Swiss-made’ prescription lenses that are ideal for smart eyewear devices,” announced Luxexcel and Optiswiss.

The new production platform is said to 3D print a variety of prescription smart lens solutions for AR smart glasses and switchable sunglasses, in a form factor similar to traditional eyewear.

Prescription platform
Optiswiss CEO Samuel Frei said: “After several years of cooperation with Luxexcel, it was time for us to bring the new VisionPlatform 7 to our production plant.

“We now have a digital manufacturing platform to combine prescription lenses with smart technology today, including a clear path towards large volume manufacturing of prescription smart glasses.”

Optiswiss highlighted the quality of ophthalmic lenses produced by the latest Luxexcel platform, as well as its “operational simplicity”, as two of the main reasons why it has been adopted.

“It replaces many process steps of traditional lens manufacturing with a one-step process,” explained the firm. “The platform provides further efficiencies such as 3D printing the hard-coating as part of the printing process.”

Luxexcel CEO Fabio Esposito commented: “We found a partner in Optiswiss that shares our vision to be at the forefront of innovation in the smart eyewear industry.

“The combination of our technology and the experience of Optiswiss as a lens manufacturer ensures that smart eyewear producers can bring to market smart devices that address the needs of those with prescriptions.”

Earlier this year Luxexcel revealed that its collaboration with UK-based WaveOptics, which specializes in optical waveguides for AR smart glasses, had delivered lenses capable of correcting the most common forms of eyesight defects.

“Luxexcel lenses can address hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism with monofocal, bifocal, trifocal or progressive lenses,” said the company at the time. “In AR lenses we can therefore address the same needs in the real world and the virtual world.”

Officially unveiled in July, the new production platform is able to integrate features including waveguides, holographic optical elements, and liquid crystal foils during the 3D printing process.

Materials compatible with high temperatures also ensure that a range of anti-reflective and hydrophobic coatings can be applied to lenses as part of existing ophthalmic post-processing steps, added Luxexcel.

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