Sep 23, 2016 | By Tess

Earlier this year, 3D printing company Materialise announced a partnership with HOYA Vision Care to bring new visualization and eye testing technologies to the eye-care market. The two products announced at the time were called the HOYA Vision Simulator and the HOYA EyeGenius, which were meant to up the game of vision testing within eye care facilities. Now, just six months later, the two companies have announced the development of a whole new product: Yuniku, the world’s first vision-centric 3D-tailored eyewear.

While we’ve seen the development of new 3D printed glasses frames fairly frequently, this new product takes the technology to a whole new level. In combining Materialise’s expertise in 3D printing and scanning, HOYA Vision Care’s optical know-how and Hoet Design Studio’s 25 years of experience designing frames, Yuniku really has the potential to disrupt the eyewear market. In fact, the eyewear system has even been nominated for a Silmo D’Or award in the Equipment category at Silmo 2016 in Paris.

So what makes Yuniku so special? Well, the new product essentially brings together a number of different elements crucial to designing and creating lenses and frames that are truly customized to the individual wearer, not only in terms of aesthetic style, but also in terms of functional needs, and vision requirements. These elements are 3D scanning, parametric design automation, and 3D printing.

The process begins with a custom 3D scanner and software platform developed by Materialise and HOYA, which first scans the user’s facial features. This scan, along with information about the wearer’s visual needs allow the advanced software to determine what the ideal position of the lenses is (distance from the eye, angle, etc.). From there, the software can essentially design the optimal frame for the wearer based on their facial characteristics.

Of course, there will still be a high level of choice for the user, as the frame design, color, and finish can all be picked and adjusted to satisfy the wearer’s own personal style. This will be done without affecting the optimal lens positioning and frame fit. Perhaps the best part, the Yuniku system will feature a virtual image of the wearer in the new frames so that they can decide for sure that the glasses look good before they are made. Currently, the base frame collection for Yuniku has been designed by Hoet Design Studio, though as the technology becomes more widespread, more brands and designers will be added to the eyewear selection.

“When 3D Printing meets the right application and the right partners, it has the potential to turn around an entire industry,” said Alireza Parandian, Global Business Strategist for Wearables, Materialise. “Materialise has helped this happen before in the hearing aid industry, when our custom software enabled the digital manufacturing of in-ear hearing aids to go from 20% of the total to nearly 100% in just two years. I believe Yuniku could be equally momentous for eyewear.”

The new Yuniku system is an undeniable advancement in the eyecare field in terms of offering clients a more in depth, and personalized service. That is, not only will opticians be able to offer their clients better and most customized products, but clients will be able to leave with eyewear that is optimized for them, aesthetically, comfort-wise, and visually. By 3D printing the individualized frames, the industry is also advanced, as the process not only eliminates stock risks within the eyewear industry, but opens up whole new distribution possibilities.

Bieke Hoet of Hoet Design Studio stated, “As an eyewear designer, I’m already familiar with how 3D Printing can revolutionize this industry. Now with Yuniku, I feel that we are able to share this potential with the world.”

There is no word yet on when clients might see the Yuniku 3D scanning system in their opticians’ office.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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