Oct 3, 2017 | By David

We’ve reported before on the work of Dutch company Luxexcel, an optics manufacturer that is one of the rising stars in the industry due to its increasing implementation of 3D printing technology. As well as providing advanced products for ophthalmic treatment, it also produces specialist lenses for next-generation applications such as augmented and virtual reality. The company recently announced that it has secured a considerable investment of four million Euros from Netherlands-based equity fund Innovation Industries. This will enable it to accelerate and expand the development of its 3D printing platform for corrective lenses.

As the market for VR and AR technology grows, a gap has been opening for manufacturers that can provide compatible non-standardized optical equipment. People with impaired vision or other sight problems who normally use corrective lenses or glasses to see in everyday life often need their vision to be similarly corrected in virtual or augmented environments. Luxexcel, founded in 2009, has stepped in recently to create specialized lenses for VR/AR headsets, allowing these people to have the same experience as those with regular vision.

What sets Luxexcel apart from its competition even further is that the lenses it produces are 3D printed with tiny ink droplets, instead of building them up with layers. These droplets can be cured using UV light, resulting in a high quality transparent lens that doesn’t require any post-processing. The company has patented this unique process, which it refers to as Printoptical Technology. It also provides specialized design software, as well as tools designed to help other companies integrate the technology into existing workflows.

Back in May of this year, Luxexcel was able to secure an impressive 10 million Euros in financial backing from various sources, including semiconductor equipment giant KLA-Tencor and investment firm Munich Ventures.This capital went towards the preparation of Printoptical Technology and its related tools for the global opthalmic market. The company’s 3D printing platforms were installed in various sites around Europe and the U.S for industrial-grade use, establishing the company’s position as one of the leading global providers of 3D printing technology for opthalmics. The latest cash injection will go towards expanding the functionality of its 3D printing platform in order to advance the part of the company’s business specifically focused on AR and VR applications.

A large part of the 3D printing platform’s expansion will be through Luxexcel’s partnering with companies that provide AR and VR technology products and solutions. These co-development programs will enable the production of VR/AR headsets, glasses and other optical gear with customized prescription lenses fully integrated into them. This level of personalization of what is still relatively new technology was not previously commercially viable to the extent that the Luxexcel 3D printing platform should allow it to be. People who need corrective lenses will soon be able to enjoy virtual reality gaming, augmented reality technology that enables them to control drones, and much more besides.

According to Luxexcel’s CEO Hans Streng, “AR/VR applications have become a hot topic in the industry. We add the ability to 3D-print ophthalmic-quality prescription lenses to these applications. This enables the AR/VR headset manufacturers to offer fully personalized smart eyewear in an attractive frame design. The ability of our platform to 3D-print ophthalmic lenses in any shape or form and the possibility to embed new functionalities in the lens triggers entirely new dimensions in terms of user-experience and business opportunity.”

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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