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Vuzix partners with Materialise to create 3D printed smart eyewear

The pair aims to accelerate the development of new innovations for enterprise applications - from warehouses to operating rooms

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Vuzix Corporation, an established supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technology and products, has partnered with Materialise to streamline the design and production of smart eyewear using 3D printing technology. This collaborative effort is expected to expedite the advent of new innovations for various enterprise applications, ranging from warehouse operations to surgical procedures.

The partnership aims to grant third-party entities in the technology, sports, and entertainment sectors the ability to quickly introduce functional, fashionable, and affordable smart eyewear to the market. This will be achieved by leveraging Vuzix’s OEM components and designs, which could potentially trim the average manufacturing cycle from 18 months to a mere 3.

As a company specializing in the design, manufacturing, and sale of optical components and smart glasses, Vuzix harnesses the power of AR to harmonize the interaction between the digital and physical realms. Joining forces with Materialise, a trailblazer in the 3D printing industry boasting over three decades of expertise, allows Vuzix to unlock the transformative potential of 3D printing in the realm of smart eyewear.

AR technology bolsters user efficiency across a multitude of industries by providing hands-free access to pertinent digital information while maintaining full awareness of their physical surroundings. This is exemplified in the healthcare sector, where AR eyewear allows medical professionals to tap into remote expertise during lengthy surgical procedures. Similarly, manufacturing and logistics companies leverage AR to improve efficiency and decrease operational errors. The integration of 3D printing into smart glasses production is expected to significantly streamline design cycles, thus fostering a nimble response to rapid technological advancements.

Vuzix partners with Materialise to create 3D printed smart eyewear for enterprise applications - from warehouses to operating rooms.
Vuzix smart glasses.

While smart eyewear has revolutionized the corporate world, consumer uptake has been somewhat sluggish due to the scarcity of engaging consumer applications and fashionable, yet affordable designs. Vuzix and Materialise seek to address these gaps by developing innovative designs that cater to organizations aspiring to launch stylish and cost-effective smart eyewear to the consumer market.

Consumer applications of smart eyewear incorporating Vuzix OEM components range from on-screen displays of athletic metrics such as speed and heart rate, to push notifications, navigation, speech-to-text translation, and AR gaming. However, numerous companies within the technology, fashion, entertainment, and sports industries often lack the manufacturing acumen to swiftly materialize these groundbreaking applications. The alliance between Vuzix and Materialise promises to equip third-party OEM firms with a flexible platform for crafting creatively designed smart eyewear, accompanied by rapid prototyping services and expedited production of limited series.

“With its speed, flexibility, and digital DNA, 3D printing offers eyewear brands a competitive edge by allowing them to drastically reduce their time-to-market while meeting customers’ aesthetic requirements,” says Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise. “We believe that collaboration with Vuzix will bring new innovations to industrial smart eyewear and accelerate the customer adoption of smart eyewear in the enterprise and broader consumer markets.”

“As our OEM solutions ramp up in support of defense, consumer, and other markets, our manufacturing capabilities need to match pace for scalability, production speed, and above all quality,” said Paul Travers, President and CEO of Vuzix. “Materialise offers several key advantages that align with our strategic outlook. We look forward to seeing what’s possible together.”

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Composites AM 2024

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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