Materialise and Vuzix® to create 3D printed smart eyewear

3D printing company Materialise has embarked on a new adventure with Vuzix® Corporation, a supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technology and products. The AM company will help Vuzix® integrate 3D printing into the manufacturing process. This integration will enable third party technology, sports, and entertainment brands to rapidly introduce functional, fashionable and affordable smart eyewear to consumers, reducing the average manufacturing cycle from 18 months to just 3.

As you probably already know, Materialise has a track record of partnerships that led to several collections of 3D printed eyewear – each reflecting the unique style of the brands that power them. Each of Materialise’ partnerships revealed the numerous advantages of AM for eyewear production: the reduction of design cycles, enabling a more agile production, customization or even the ability to produce more complex and original shapes.

The partnership with Vuzix is different as it brings an AR component in the game.

The AR component

Vuzix utilizes augmented reality (AR) to deliver a perfect balance of engagement between the digital and the real world.

Augmented reality enhances user effectiveness in various industries by connecting them to key information in a digital world while staying hands-free and completely aware of the physical environment. Medical professionals rely on smart eyewear to access remote expertise during lengthy surgeries, while manufacturing and logistics companies utilize AR features to drive efficiency and reduce operational errors.

While smart eyewear has transformed the workplace, consumer adoption has been limited due to the lack of compelling consumer applications and the lack of fashionable and affordable designs. Vuzix and Materialise aim to address these challenges by creating exciting and innovative designs that cater to companies seeking to introduce fashionable and affordable smart eyewear to consumers.

As our OEM solutions ramp up in support of defense, consumer, and other markets, our manufacturing capabilities need to match pace for scalability, production speed and above all quality,” said Paul Travers, President and CEO of Vuzix. “Materialise offers several key advantages that align with our strategic outlook. We look forward to seeing what’s possible together.”

Exciting consumer applications of smart eyewear include on-screen displays of speed and heart rate for athletes, push notifications and navigation, speech-to-text translation, and augmented reality gaming. Many companies in the technology, fashion, entertainment, and sports sectors today lack the manufacturing expertise to bring these innovative applications to life, and on a timely basis. The collaboration between Vuzix and Materialise provides these third-party OEM companies with a flexible platform for producing smart eyewear with creative designs, rapid prototyping services, and fast and flexible production of small series.

 “With its speed and flexibility, Materialise’s dedicated 3D printing factory for eyewear offers eyewear brands a competitive edge by allowing them to drastically reduce their time-to-market while meeting customers’ aesthetic requirements,” says Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise. “We believe that collaboration with Vuzix will bring new innovations to industrial smart eyewear and accelerate consumer adoption of smart eyewear.”

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