Seiko Optical Europe has picked up an award for its 3D-printed eyewear line. The Xchanger sports eyewear line was made in collaboration with Hoet Design Studio and Materialise Engineering Services, and won the Silmo d’Or award for excellence in optical innovation in the Sport Equipment Category at the Silmo 2015 optics fair.
According to Materialise, the custom frame line is the result of a six-month collaborative effort with Hoet and Seiko. “Our anatomical fitting software suite was used to resize the frames despite the high curvature of the lenses and other requirements,” said Alireza Parandian, Materialise. “We’ve worked hard on making the most of 3D printing for the Xchanger collection.”
A number of other companies are taking advantage of 3D printings customization capabilities to create form-fitted glasses, including Boulton Eyewear in Amsterdam, Protos and Luxexcel (which actually 3D printed lenses).
The Seiko frames are formed from a special bio-compatible material that the company describes has having a “silk-like molecular structure that is stronger than acetate and lighter than titanium.” The modular frame structure is produced using high-precision laser sintering. The frames are made on dedicated machines using Materialise’s Additive Manufacturing Control Platform (AMCP), which is tuned for printing eyewear.
Because the frames are made via additive manufacturing, customers can get customized frames with options that include an anti-fog ventilation system, integrated lens change mechanism, and high-curvature lenses for wider viewing angles. There are also three inclination angles and multiple frame sizes, lengths and colors.
The frames are built from multiple components, each available in a variety of different colors (including the lenses). You can see more about how they are built in the video below: