Future trends in eyewear technology

Wearable technology has been around for a few years but not all of us have gotten a firsthand experience with it yet. The next few years might be a lot different. Wearable technology is one of the hottest technologies to hit Silicon Valley in the last few years. According to Forbes, 71% of 16-24 year olds want wearable technology. Keeping in mind this growing market, the future will probably see prescription glasses being replaced with SmartGlass technology.

Though wearable technology has been around for some time, the groundbreaking event was the launch of Google Glass in 2013. Given only to selected individuals initially, Glass was and continues to be a fair reflection of what the future of Eyewear technology looks like. Since the launch of Google Glass, most of the tech giants have noticed the buzz around these fashionable products which led them to make their versions of eyewear. Some of these include Sony’s SmartEyeGlass, Apple iGlass and Microsoft HoloLens. In 2014, 1 million smart glass units were sold in the U.S. – and that figure is expected to grow to 100 million units in a matter of a few years. This gives a huge opportunity for lens manufacturers to innovate with the changing times.

A substantial subset of wearable technology is Eyewear, which uses SmartGlass and can be worn just like prescription glasses. Eyeglass World, a leading retailer of affordable prescription eyewear, is the first national chain to launch a retail collection of prescription lenses for smart glass technologies in the U.S. It becomes the first brick-and-mortar retailer in the world to offer Recon Jet, Vuzix M100 and Epson Moverio hardware all under one roof, along with the availability of prescription lenses. The company has partnered with Rochester Optical to provide smart glass solutions using Smart GOLD lenses, to cater to the unique visual demands of smart glasses. “Through the Epson Moverio glasses and the augmented reality these apps provide, there are incredible benefits that can be gained by viewing and interacting with digital content that’s intertwined into our everyday environment,” said Eric Mizufuka, product manager at Epson America.

I got a chance to have an FAQ with Bruce Steffey, President and COO of National Vision, Inc. nearing the launch date. Following are some of the questions with their answers.

  • What is unique about the offering Eyeglass World is bringing to market?
    We’re the first retail chain to offer customized, prescription lenses for smart glass devices – an important step in overcoming an existing hurdle and sustaining growth in the smart glasses wearables category.
  • What does this launch mean for the future of Eyeglass World stores across the country?
    All of our San Diego stores will open with this offering, and we plan to open eight or more stores in the market. In addition, we plan to rollout prescription lenses for Smart Glasses to all of our brands in the near future.
  • What does the store experience look like for a customer?
    In these new Eyeglass World stores, we have a specialized, dedicated display area distinctly separate from the normal eyeglass selling floor. This dedicated area has the latest tablet technology with interactive content for customers to better understand the functionality and visual requirements of each device. Customers can try on each device, which is already fully enabled with content and apps.
  • Why is prescription lens design important for smart glass users?
    Smart glass functionality – specifically devices that use a Heads Up Display (Google Glass, Vuzix M100) – created a new set of challenges for the optics industry. Without the appropriate corrective lenses, specifically designed to account for different focal points of certain devices, users cannot fully experience the benefits of their smart glass device. The greater visual clarity delivered by prescription smart glass lenses may help minimize eye strain and eye fatigue commonly associated with early smart glass adopters.

Paul Travers, founder, president and CEO of Vuzix, said, “We’re extremely excited about the launch of wearable smart glasses and prescription lenses in Eyeglass World. For Vuzix, having wider access to these products will be transformative in the workplace, leading to greater productivity and increased job satisfaction.”

This article is reposted with the author’s permission from examiner.com.

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