Apr 7, 2016 | By Tess

Belgian 3D printing company Materialise has recently announced an exciting new partnership with HOYA Vision Care to develop an innovative visualization and eye testing technology that could potentially change the nature of eye exams and customer experience in optical shops.

HOYA Vision Care, a part of the larger Japanese HOYA Group, itself a global leader in high-tech medical technologies and products, is realizing its vision for a range of high quality eye care tools with the help of additive manufacturing technologies and a design and engineering team from Materialise. The first two products to be announced by the companies, and which will be the first products we can expect to use in eye care facilities, are the HOYA Vision Simulator and the HOYA EyeGenius.

The HOYA Vision Simulator will be used in optical stores to allow customers to experience what their vision will be like wearing their new lenses before they actually buy them. The headset uses virtual reality technology to immerse its users into a 3D world through the prescription lens.

The HOYA EyeGenius, for its part, is a new type of vision examination system capable of calculating the ideal prismatic prescription for the correction of fixation disparity. The system, which will be used by opticians, can also be used for 60 additional vision tests including refraction, binocular vision screening, and visual function screening, to name but a few.

In developing the two products, it was important that HOYA’s new vision care systems were both adaptable in terms of ever-changing smartphone devices—for the virtual reality goggles—and upgradable for new design iterations. In order to be able to both adjust and upgrade their products’ designs while also putting them on the market quickly, HOYA Vision Care found that Materialise’s 3D printing technologies and services would be the ideal manufacturing method.

Materialise Executive Vice President of Production, Bart Van der Schueren, said of the collaboration, “HOYA has a known commitment to using creativity and innovation to become the leading company in niche markets, making them not only an ideal co-creation partner, but also a company ready to utilize Materialise’s certified manufacturing for high-quality, end-use products. With the first products already making their way onto the market, with great initial feedback, together with HOYA we are proving the added-value that 3D printing is ready to deliver to the entire eyewear industry.”

The HOYA Vision Simulator, made from an interior of laser sintered parts and an exterior of vacuum casted SLS prints, was engineered to fit ergonomically around the face, completely enveloping the wearer’s vision. The interior of the vision simulator contains an adjustable housing slot to accomodate a range of smartphones, as well a place to insert trial prescription lenses. The monocular pupil distance of the headset can also be adjusted to fit the user by turning an integrated "adjustment wheel."

The HOYA EyeGenius, also made from vacuum casted SLS master copies, consists of a mount and tablet stand, and a housing frame for a TV screen which can be easily swivelled for various viewing angles.

“In Materialise, we have found an ideal partner for co-creating, engineering and manufacturing new innovations that can quickly be brought to the market with the quality expected of the HOYA name,” said Felix España, New Media Manager EMEA for Hoya Vision Care. “Materialise’s design and engineering experts work closely with our own to identify the designs, technologies and materials needed to introduce true innovation into the eyewear industry and deliver a premium consumer experience. Materialise’s software expertise and manufacturing capacity are then able to turn these concepts into high-quality, end-use products in quantities that meet the demands of our customers.”

Be sure to keep an eye out next time you go to the optician’s for an eye test, or to an eyewear shop to buy some prescription lenses, as you might just be using HOYA Vision Care and Materialise’s state of the art 3D printed eye care products.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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