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Girl wearing tailored and 3D printed glasses from Protos
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Protos 3D Printed eyewear
Ill-fitting glasses are one of the main reasons I prefer to squint whilst on holiday than buy a pair of sunglasses from a gent I presume is a perfectly legit Ray Ban reseller parading his goods on the beaches of Southern Europe. The bridge of my nose seems to be wider than most, meaning whenever I don a pair they slip down my nose, if I push them on tightly they hurt, so instead I read books on the beach under a towel.
I guarantee that you know somebody who has developed an almost nervous twitch by having to nudge their glasses up the bridge of their nose because they simply do not fit. The fact is that eyewear's common one-size fits all approach works no better than having a one size suits all lens.
Protos are changing the ill-fitting glasses pandemic thanks to the use of 3D printing. Mass-customisation is, as we say quite often, one of the most exciting aspects of the 3D printing revolution; the ability to tailor a specific product to your exact needs is 3D printing's biggest pull as a consumer product manufacturing process. To achieve this Protos are using bleeding-edge scanning and printing technology to tailor fit a pair of glasses specifically for you.
The San Francisco-based startup has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to bring their custom-fit eyewear application online. The software simply requires you to take two photographs, one front on and one profile, the algorithms will do the rest. The clever kit adjusts how the glasses fit and sit on your face, by measuring several aspects of your cranial proportions. The glasses are then printed using a unique blend of materials and voila! You have a perfect fitting pair of glasses, complete with your prescription if necessary in no time at all.
The Protos team say the $25,000 funding will help them bring this 3D printed product to mass-market. “Even with all of this (the printing process and the algorithms) in place, we are still missing the last piece of the puzzle. If we want to provide frames to a large audience, we need to connect our back end software to a user-friendly online interface. This will allow us to fit frames more efficiently and get them to you in a timely manner.“
Protos aren’t the first to use 3D printing for eyewear; whereas their approach relies specifically on tailoring to your own facial dimensions, Ron Arad’s acclaimed PQ range hold to your head. The natural state of Ron's glasses is in a closed position, the hinges are designed to always return to said position, this means they cling to your head and don’t fall off.
Protos claim that their glasses are “lighter than titanium and stronger than an acetate." The team have been wearing prototypes for almost two years with no sign of wear-and-tear. There are several stock designs available but one lucky pledger will get the chance to design his/her own frames.
So perhaps next time I’m trying to read in on holiday, instead of hiding away from the glaring sunlight under a towel like some sort of elephant man, I will be able to read without the discomfort on the bridge to my nose, the irritation of which is akin to water torture.