Luxexcel, an innovative tech company specializing in 3D printed prescription lenses, has recently announced a new partnership with waveguides developers WaveOptics to develop a line of AR smart glasses that are both fashionable and comfortable to wear. 

By merging the work being done at Luxexcel and WaveOptics, the two companies are promising an AR headset that is more streamlined than existing solutions such as Nreal or Magic Leap. This is a device you could wear as you shop, hang out with friends, or exercise.

In an interview with 3DPrintingIndustry.com, Guido Groet, Chief Strategy Officer at Luxexcel said, “About 70% of the adult world population today need vision correction to see their best. Providing consumers with a single device that integrates both their prescription requirements, as well as smart technologies from leaders such as WaveOptics, is a prerequisite in enabling the adoption of smart glasses by the mass consumer market.”

Using WaveOptics super thin 1.115mm Katana waveguides lenses, Luxexcel will be capable of building AR smart glasses that weigh 50% less than existing headsets while at the same time providing high-quality AR experiences at a wide FOV. As a bonus, the headset will be dustproof and waterproof in case you get caught in the rain; something you definitely don’t want to do with a HoloLens 2.

The process of printing an AR-powered prescription lens begins with Luxexcel’s VisionClear technology. As part of the finishing process, the newly printed lens is then cured under UV lighting. From there, designers create a ‘smart layer’ that can embed technology such as WaveOptics waveguides, holographic films, and even an LCD screen.

The end result is a normal-looking pair of prescription glasses capable of AR that can withstand day-to-day use. And because the smart layer is sandwiched between a normal prescription lens, you don’t have to worry about damaging the tech housed within.

Meeting consumer demand shouldn’t be an issue for Luxexcel since their 3D printing technology is capable of high-volume production. Phil Greenhalgh, CTO at WaveOptics, shared his excitement about the project, talking more about how this partnership with Luxexcel could solve two major questions surrounding production; how to address prescription accommodation and how to deliver a robust waveguide in a consumer-friendly package.

Of course, this technology isn’t just for individuals who require prescription glasses in order to see properly. They can easily build a smart layer into non-prescription glasses, such as sunglasses, goggles, a car windshield, or even the windows of your home.

The two companies plan on showing a prototype of their glasses during the SPIE AR,VR, MR conference this March. You can expect samples of their glasses to arrive in Q2 of 2021.