Freeform Lenses: The Difference Is Clear

Measuring a frame wrap angle around a face for custom progressive lenses.

Measuring a frame wrap angle around a face for custom progressive lenses.

The difference between a freeform (also called digital) and a standard lens is essentially the same as the difference between off-the-rack and tailored clothing.  Both start with a product made for the “average person”.  But there is no such thing as an average person.  So, the item must be adjusted to fit precisely.  For an important occasion, like a wedding, we have our clothing adjusted for the optimal fit.  This is exactly what freeform lenses do for your eyes.  The big difference is that you may wear that fancy tailored outfit only once, while you’ll wear your glasses every day.

Lens Distance — It Varies 

If you think about your eye moving behind the lens of your eyeglasses, you’ll realize that the lens is farthest from your eye along the edges and is closest in the middle, where the lens is directly in front of your eye.  That variation in distance is unique to each person, depending on the size of your eyes, the shape of your face and how the frame sits on you.  The tilt of the frame and its shape also alter the distance between your eye and the lens at different points.  A generic lens blank cannot accommodate these variations.  This means that you are likely to experience distortion as your eye moves within the frame unless the lens is customized to account for these unique variables.

Progressive lenses present an additional challenge because the lens also has to change in power from the top portion (where you look straight ahead for distance) to the bottom edge of the lens, where the power is higher for your reading prescription.  For the most comfortable and sharp vision correction, you need a smooth transition with the cleanest curves and the least amount of peripheral distortion.

Customizing Options — Not All Are Equal

There are a variety of ways to achieve a tailored lens fit. Some, of course, are better than others.  They all created of chunky lens blank, but on different equipment.   Here’s a quick look:

  • Conventional/Traditional (K, J Options for VSP Customers): After your optician tries the frame on you and takes the measurements, the customized changes are ground onto the front of the lens and the lens is then polished.  This is the least expensive option, but it has significant shortcomings.  The grinding and polishing processes cause friction, which heats up the lens, causing it to warp slightly and creating distortion.  This process is the least accurate, so it creates the greatest area of “swim” in your peripheral vision, which causes some people to experience dizziness.  In addition, placing the customized adjustment on the front of the lens puts the correction farther away from your eye, so your eyes have to work harder to bring the world into focus.
Making your conventional lens

Making your conventional lens

  • Digital (F option for VSP): This process utilizes a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine tool – the same high tech instrument used for creating precision parts for the aviation industry.  Your unique measurements are fed into the the computer that controls the machine tool, so the adjustments are very precise, creating a smooth, comfortable curve.  The adjustments are made to both the front and back of the lens and there is no vibration, which can lead to distortion.  Because the process is so precise, very little polishing is needed.  The lenses stay at room temperature and do not warp.  We recommend this option for progressives and for single vision lenses with high prescription or high astigmatism.
inside-of-sufacing-lens-digitallyjpg

Digitally made lenses on CNC machine.

  • Total Customization (O, N Options for VSP): This option, which only costs an additional $10 for VSP customers, involves additional measurements, including the tilt of the frame you have selected, how it wraps around your face and the distance from your eye (cornea) to the back of the lens. The goal is to create multiple optical centers so they can “follow” your eye movements. (Think honeycomb pattern). It will give you stability switching  between different frames and comfort of reading (by eliminating an image displacement). This option gives you very precise, accurate visual correction, even in your periphery.
Polishing for freeform lenses

Polishing of freeform lenses

 

 

Titanium: The Super Metal

BLACKFIN Frame: Front- PURE TITANIUM (90%-to-100% titanium) Temples-BETA TITANIUM. An alloy, beta titanium is usually composed of 75% titanium combined with 22% vanadium (for hardness) and 3% aluminum (for lightness).

BLACKFIN Frame:
Front- PURE TITANIUM (90%-to-100% titanium)
Temples-BETA TITANIUM. An alloy, beta titanium is usually composed of 75% titanium combined with 22% vanadium (for hardness) and 3% aluminum (for lightness).

Titanium is named for the Titans – the race of giant gods that preceded the famous Greek gods of Mount Olympus –a name reflecting this metal’s super-hero strength.   Ready to be impressed?  Titanium’s melting point is 3020 degrees Fahrenheit and its boiling point is 5949 degrees Fahrenheit.  Whoa!  That’s one strong metal!

Because of this strength, its resistance to corrosion and because it is inert – meaning it doesn’t react with other substances – titanium is used for everything from spacecraft and missile parts to hip joints and dental implants.  You can see why it’s an awesome material for eyeglass frames.

Staying in Shape

Titanium is way stronger than steel, but it’s almost half as light.  This means that, unlike other metal frames, titanium frames don’t get bent out of shape (pun intended).  They stay comfortable and you don’t have to keep running to the optical office for adjustments (though we are always happy to see you!).  Honestly, you can even fall asleep and roll over on top of them and they probably won’t need adjusting.  That’s pretty impressive!

Avoiding the Yuck Factor

Metal frames made of other materials are subject to corrosion.  Friction as the temples move with your face, combined with perspiration, can provoke a reaction with the copper or nickel in a metal alloy frame, causing a green salt to leach out.  This can literally leave a green line on either side of your face.  Ewww!

Titanium frames, however, do not corrode, so you never have to worry about looking like you have a tattoo gone bad on your face.

Also, titanium is hypoallergenic and contains no nickel, so you don’t have to worry about allergies or irritation.

2-color titanium frame

2-color titanium frame

Fashion and Function

Modern techniques have brought a new range of beautiful colors to the world of titanium frames.  The superior strength of this metal also means that it can be formed into shapes with crisp, clean edges and sleek lines.  We think you’ll love the lightweight feel and superior design.   They cost a little more than metal alloys, but the comfort and durability are well worth it.

Titanium frame by WOOW (France) with matte gray finish

Titanium frame by WOOW (France) with matte gray finish

BLACKFIN titanium booth took first prize at optical trade fair in Milan, Italy in 2015.

Inside of Blackfin titanium booth

Inside of Blackfin titanium booth

Titanium panel

Titanium panel

Onega Astaltsova in front of the booth in Munich, Germany in 2016

Onega Astaltsova in front of the booth in Munich, Germany in 2016

The prestigious Bestand Award is given by eyewear trade show in Italy to the booth that received the highest number of votes from visitors during the exhibition. The BESTAND is awarded to exhibitors who have been able to transform their booth into a “place of wonder” where the furniture, the products and their effective display have been specifically designed to give visitors an unforgettable experience. (photo: ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine, Russia)

The prestigious Bestand Award is given by eyewear trade show in Italy to the booth that received the highest number of votes from visitors during the exhibition.
The BESTAND is awarded to exhibitors who have been able to transform their booth into a “place of wonder” where the furniture, the products and their effective display have been specifically designed to give visitors an unforgettable experience.
(photo: ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine, Russia)

Redefining “Made in America”

IEM-Independent Eyewear Manufacturing

Entrance to State Optical eyewear manufacturing facilities, Chicago area, Illinois, USA

Since everyone is welcome to visit State Optical’s facilities to see eyewear manufacturing, we decided to visit the factory, located in suburb of Chicago, in July 2016. It was an incredible experience. We love the building’s picturesque location and its modern interior design, which includes an upcoming interior basketball court.

Skilled workers,or craftsmen wear t-shirts with the logo IEM—Independent Eyewear Manufacturing. Craftsmen in training, however, don’t have the right to wear the shirt. They have to earn it. Jason and Marc do the training and it takes about six months for a typical craftsman to come up to full speed. Why? Because over 50% of State’s acetate frame production is done by hand and it takes an average of 70 different steps to make a basic acetate frame.

Jason and Onega

Jason Stanley of IEM and Onega Astaltsova at State Optical eyewear manufacturing, USA Jason Stanley was a judge for America’s finest optical store contest in 2016, holding by professional eyewear publication. Onega was a judge for the same contest in 2015.

IEM uses a total of 60 pieces of equipment and 42 of them are brand new. Of all of these, the team is the most proud of the state-of-the-art factory Computer Numerically Controlled, or CNC machine, which cuts the front of the frames. It is one of the most high tech eyewear manufacturing pieces of equipment in the world. Only two such machines exist and both are at IEM facilities. One of them has been named “MASON” after Marc and Jason. It is a phenomenal piece of equipment.

Watch the video, there Scott shares the dream about making things in America:

 

Read full story on State Optical in our May 2016 blog.

C-Zone collection close up: wood lamination on metal

Wood-on-steel frames, first introduced by Lucas de Staël, made their debut in the world of luxury eyewear some time ago, but more recently – two-and-a-half years ago to be exact – Dutch company C-ZONE decided to make the same look available to those with a more modest budget.

The new line was such a hit that C-Zone has since expanded its range of eyeglass models with wood lamination inlays.  In fact, the company is set to release a new model with a curved wooden lamination at the Vision Expo West in September.

C-Zone owner Rob Maas in action

C-Zone owner Rob Maas in action

Given the success of these mid-priced eyeglass frames ($227 at Providence Optical), we decided to publish an interview with C-Zone owner and designer Rob Maas to tell us about the concept behind this popular trend.

Why wood-on-metal frames?

“C-ZONE is a collection of metal frames. We use it as our base material, but we always combined it with other materials like acetate and silicone. A few years ago, we saw that there was a growing interest in glasses made out of wood.

But we also heard about 2 negative aspects of wooden frames. First of all, they are rather expensive. Not everybody can afford it. But also, it was not possible to adjust a wooden frame to a face.

We came with a concept that is more affordable and still has that feel of a wooden frame: wood lamination inlay on a metal frame. From its introduction, it’s been hugely popular.”

But what is wood lamination exactly?

“I guess that everybody’s familiar with wood lamination as a material on the floor in one’s home. This is sort of the same. It is chopped off wood, pressed and plasticized. The wood has become a plastic sheet of dead wood so to speak. This also enables the optician to bend the metal/wood combination to adjust it to the face of a patient. And people do not have to worry; you can put the frames in the ultra-sonic cleaners.

We work with three types of wood: oak (brown sheet), birch (grey sheet) and mahogany (reddish sheet).

Metal and wood…doesn’t that make a frame rather heavy?

“Not in our case. For the metal part, we use a bit of thinner stainless steel than we normally use. Normally, this thickness is too weak to be a regular pair of glasses, but in combination with the wood lamination, the frame become strong enough. But in fact, it is so light-weight the material is often mistaken for titanium.”

C-Zone

Model G 2190 in birch/mahogany on steel by C-ZONE

So, the concept is still popular after 2.5 years?

“Absolutely. But we do develop. Like for model G2190 we came up with 2 types of wood lamination in one frame. And at Vision Expo West, we will come up with frame H2202. For the first time, we are now able to curve the wood lamination on the front end. This gives a total different look.”

The C-ZONE collection is famous for its colors, but in that sense wood is not very C-ZONE like, is it?

“But we still have the metal part to spice up the frame. We combine the wood with contrasting colours like a lipstick red, a midnight blue or a shiny silver. Exactly, these became the bestsellers. But for the more traditional customers, we also offer them in a chocolate brown and stylish black. You can’t go wrong with this one. That’s why I still enjoy wearing my G2190 in color 10.”

C-zone

Model G 2190 in oak/mahogany on steel by C-ZONE

If you think wood-on-metal is genius, how about denim-on-steel?  C-Zone has a whole separate line of eyewear based on this concept.  Both collections are ready for you to explore here at Providence Optical.

Model H2199 with red denim on steel

 

Highway Overpass Meets Contemporary Necklace: A New Line of Eyewear Is Born

Ludwig

Contemporary Jewelry:  Sleek, modern, textured, bold, eye-catching, innovative, whimsical.

Road Architecture:  Strong, functional, textured, utilitarian, monochromatic, plain, sometimes ugly.

What do the two have in common?  Look closely.  It’s all about texture.  And  Jacqueline Lung found an incredibly innovative way to bring these two media together.

The Steinar frame is made of steel and real concrete, yet it's light enough to wear.  Photo by Patrick Han.

Lung’s Steinar frame is made of real concrete, yet it’s light enough to wear. Photo by Patrick Han (cargocollective.com/patrickhan).

The Ludwig frame celebrates industrial I-beams as both structure and decor.  Photo by Patrick Han (cargocollective.com/patrickhan).

The Ludwig frame celebrates industrial I-beams as both structure and decor. Photo by Patrick Han.

It all started in Lung’s freshman year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), when she fell in love with metalworking, particularly fine details, which add texture to smooth metallic surfaces.  Lung initially worked on jewelry and tableware designs.  And then something strange and wonderful happened:  She discovered eyewear as the nexus of jewelry and function – an accessory that serves a necessity and also conveys the personality of the wearer.  Lung explains:

I believe that … eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona … The relationship between eyewear and its wearer is symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality of the materials embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality of the materials calls for activation by the wearer.

For her RISD Degree Project, Lung took a bold step.  She decided to incorporate boring industrial materials — such as steel, concrete and even duct tape — into her eyewear designs to elevate their status and challenge eyeglass wearers to think about these materials in a new way.  In her handmade line of eyewear, Industrial Spectacles, Lung brings out the hidden beauty in these materials.  Says Lung:

Gunta, 2016. Polycabonate, duct tape

Shiny, ugly duct tape transforms into a soft, velvety, grey textile. Concrete presents itself as delicate graphic elements, rather than as massive spacious structures in which we reside. Parts of screws that are normally hidden below the surface are displayed, remaining functional while destabilizing the expectation of how they could be used. The hidden character of these materials are given agency as they rise to the surface and become accessible in the format of eyewear.

Each frame in Lung’s new collection bears a name that reflects its featured material.

Archytas playfully showcases screws as a design element. Photo by Patrick Han

Archytas playfully showcases screws as a design element. Photo by Patrick Han

– Archytas: named after Archytas of Tarentum, an ancient Greek mathematician who is often credited as the inventor of screws

– Steinar: a Scandinavian name that combines “stone” and “warrior, referencing concrete and  its origins

– Ludwig: named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, paying homage to his extensive use of I beams in architecture as both structural and decorative elements

Akira blends steel and  duct tape into sleek shape with velvety texture.  Photo by Patrick Han.

Akira blends steel and duct tape into sleek shape with velvety texture. Photo by Patrick Han.

– Akira: named after Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese origami master, reflecting the foldable structure created by steel and duct tape in this piece

– Gunta: named after Gunta Stölzl, who was a Bauhaus weaving master, in reference to the duct tape weave structure.

Lung’s Archytas spectacles with mirror sun lenses are available at RISD Works store and  at www.jacquelinelung.com
Dare to see yourself – and these materials – differently!

Archytas

Archytas, 2016. Steel

OpticMag, June 2016 Jackie Lung

Special feature in “ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine” (OPTICmag), Moscow, Russia JUNE 2016 Публикация в журнале “ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine”, июнь 2016

Eyeglasses Frames and Hollywood: Guess What They Have in Common

lunettes-kollektion-production-

If you’re a fan of retro eyewear, or if you’re old enough to remember when it was the “new thing,” you know that early plastic eyeglass frames were thick and pretty heavy for the poor nose that had to hold them up. New colors for plastic eyewear emerged in the mid-20th Century, giving birth to the idea that eyewear is a fashion statement rather than a medical necessity. A variety of shapes also emerged in this era, but they were all pretty thick. We’ve come a long way since then to the modern, ultra light plastics that feature flexibility and über thin lines in a wild array of colors. Let’s take a look back to see how we got to where we are today.

 A Volatile Beginning

 SchönbeinThe first composition plastic used for eyeglass frames was celluloid – yup, the same stuff used by Hollywood filmmakers – which was invented way back in 1869. Technically, it was called cellulose nitrate, or nitrocellulose. The word “nitro” isn’t just a coincidence. This stuff was highly flammable. The story goes that German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868 ) used the family kitchen to conduct experiments with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids. Even great chemists have “oops” moments, so when Schönbein spilled some of the mixture, he used his wife’s apron to wipe it up. The aprons of the day were made of 100 percent cotton, so Schönbein unknowingly mixed cellulose fibers from the apron into his nitrate compound. He hung the soiled apron up to dry above the stove and then he had a second “oops” moment when the apron exploded.

Despite its flammable nature, cellulose nitrate – nicknamed “zyl” by the optical industry – was used for eyeglass frames from the late 19th Century all the way through the mid-20th Century. We finally wised up and found other, less volatile, plastics for eyeglass frames, but cellulose nitrate is still used today in the manufacture of smokeless gunpowder, printing ink, wood varnish, foil and film lacquers, automotive paint, fingernail polish, leather finishes, adhesives and coatings to protect silver and other tarnishable metals. And now you understand why you shouldn’t smoke, light a candle or crank up your space heater in the presence of any of these products.

 The Next Generation

 Acetate framesCelluloid nitrate’s cousin and successor is a compound known as cellulose acetate, or “acetate” for short. This more stable compound comes cellulose, usually derived from wood pulp (birch, eucalyptus) or cotton, treated with acetic anhydride (basically, vinegar minus the water molecules) to make the fibers soft and pliable. In this form, it is used to manufacture cloth. For eyeglasses, cellulose acetate is bound with plasticizer, such as diethyl phthalate, to give it the strength and rigid structure needed to mold frames. While the CDC has issued health warnings about direct exposure to diethyl phthalate, it is so strongly bound into the acetate that it cannot leach out at temperatures below 122 degrees.

Cool New Eyewear Materials – Thinner, Lighter, More Color Options

I_THIN_II_5407 by Italia Independent

The latest eyewear plastics are nylon-based, which makes them stronger and more flexible than cellulose acetate. Because nylon molecules have a strong bond, eyeglass manufactures can use less of it, which means thinner, sleeker and lighter eyewear – up to 72% less weight than cellulose acetate. Nylon also accepts dyes very easily, which means a wider range of colors, including translucent shades that look like frosted glass. The only down side is that they are vulnerable to shrinking when exposed to heat, so don’t leave those designer sunglasses on the dash of your car!

If you really want a pair of glasses that you can abuse, look for frame made of Ultem ® (PolyEtherimide) resin. It’s resistant to heat, UV rays and chemical exposure. Because of these properties, it’s widely used in the medical and chemical industries. Like nylon compounds, it is light-weight and can be molded super thin. You can get temple pieces as narrow as 1.2 mm for that “barely there” look. And, your eyeglass frame could be 50% lighter than a comparable one in metal.

See award winning glasses from RISD student at Providence Optical!

dm2016Rhode Island School of Design’ student from Virginia, Daniel Morgan, won the third place with his concept MAGO: an innovative magnetic hinge, anchored in both the front and in the temples, making the glasses almost unbreakable. Morgan designed MAGO for all those active people, looking for a stylish pair of glasses.

With the magnetic connection, the temples can be removed from the front just as easily as they can be connected to each other again. What was convincing from a technical point of view was not only that the strength of the magnets was exactly balanced, but also that Morgan used the rapid prototyping method beforehand. The result: a bright red, fully functional pair of glasses that the jury could hardly keep their hands off. The front and the temples are 3D printed.

Organized by OWP Brillen, a German eyewear manufacturer, the aim of the International Eyewear Design Contest 2015 is to reward creative and innovative product ideas in the field of prescription eyewear. he contest proved extremely popular, with 146 young designers from 26 countries – including Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Israel and Australia – submitting their creative ideas for eyewear. Based on the theme ‘urban street style’, young product designers are welcome to think differently and to challenge themselves. A jury of designers  selected three winning concepts based on the choice of materials, wearability, manufacturability and functionality.

Award winning eyewear is here!

Silmo Ceremony where Lucas de Staël won the Silmo d’Or for the Best Optical frame.

There’s something about a repeat winner.  Think Serena Williams, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Lebron James, Meryl Streep.  You can rely on such people to give you an amazing performance again and again.  In the world of eyewear, Lucas de Staël has become a repeat winner, as he walks away once again with best ophthalmic frame design award from this year’s Silmo d’Or – the eyewear version of the Academy Awards. For a run-down of his previous Silmo award, see our blog posting of Oct. 17, 2012.

We’re proud to say that we’ve been working with De Staël for a long time. First, he brought us his innovative Undostill and Suprematic lines, which revolutionized the industry by creating frames from a single piece of steel with no hinges.  His next adventure was to craft frames of out of leather, including his Minotaure line, made of  cow skin, and separate collection made of goat-skin, which he dubbed “Monsieur Seguin”. The frames have hinged temples and high calibre stainless steel between layers of leather for durability. But don’t think boring leather shades like in shoe wear.  Think attention-getting mod colors.

Production of Minotaure cow-leather line at Lucas de Staël studio in Paris.

Fronts from Minotaure line.

His latest innovation is eyewear made of genuine stone like granite, slate and pearl schist. He has two lines using thin stone cuts, “Stratus” and “Petrus”. “Stratus” uses a combination of stone, steel and leather. “Pertus” frames have a stone front and stone temples. The the material is so thin that it actually bends.  Again, de Staël used a metal skeleton to provide support while minimizing weight.

Presentation of “Petrus” at Silmo 2014

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova at his studio in Paris

Fascinated by this unparalleled ingenuity, we visited de Staël’s studio-factory in Paris to see the manufacturing process for ourselves.  The site is as innovative as the eyewear it produces.  The two-story glass building nestled between two typical city buildings is light, spacious and well-organized.  Inside are machinery and tools created by de Staël and his team.  They have to create their own because no other technology can manipulate the natural frame materials in this unique way or produce such meticulous results.  For example, the layers of the frame have to line up with a minuscule 0.05 mm tolerance.

Production

Sheet of slate for “Petrus” line gives matté finish to the frame.

Passion for Eyewear Fashion – Asian Style

DIOPS expo in Daegu, South Korea was colorful and just plain fun!

We’ve just returned from the annual Daegu International Optical Show (DIOPS 2014) in South Korea, to which we were invited as VIP participants.  It was obvious as we approached the expo site that this city is in love with eyewear.  Bus stops, buildings and even light poles are decorated with giant eyeglasses.  Maybe it’s because major eyewear factories are only 3 kilometers away from the expo site, but still, you don’t see that kind of excitement in other cities with nearby factories.

Even light poles in Daegu celebrate eyewear.

Eyewear bus stop in Daegu

And it’s not just this city.  Asia itself seems to be in love with eyewear.  Even people who don’t need glasses wear them.  Celebrities have led the trend for more than three years by wearing fashion frames with no lenses.  They have a particular passion for big, chunky frames that make a statement.

One of the challenges for Asians and ethnic Asians living in the West is that American and European eyewear manufacturers don’t take the Asian facial geometry into consideration when they design their frames.  That is, until now.  Because Asia is the fastest growing market for the eyewear industry, Western manufacturers have begun to redesign some of their most popular models to fit the Asian facial structure more comfortably, with different nosepads, front lines and tilt.  Oliver Peoples was a leader in this trend, and Ray Ban soon jumped on the band wagon in a big way – 44% of its export models offer a version specially altered for an Asian fit.

Thin, lightweight, translucent temples with Ultem symbols.

Most popular eyewear shape in Asia in ultra-thin Ultem.

Though we in America tend to think of the latest fashions as emanating from New York, Paris or Rome, in the eyewear industry, Asia plays a leading role.  South Korea, for example, which just happens to be the fourth strongest economy in the world, is the birthplace of Ultem – a super-flexible, lightweight, heat-resistant (think sunglasses sitting on the dashboard) material that has revolutionized eyeglass frames.  Because of its superior strength, manufactures can now create ultra-thin frames, which previously could only be achieved using metal. Ultem also offers an amazing array of color possibilities ranging from transparent to multicolored.  Best of all, it’s a relatively inexpensive material.  Frank Custom and DASA both produce frames made of Ultem, which you can see and try on here at Providence Optical.  We also have a great collection of exciting Paul Hueman (South Korean) acetate and metal frames in sleek, trendy styles, offered at amazingly low prices.

Faster Smarter and Now More Fashionable: Google Glass Could Be the Next Step in the Information Technology Revolution

Remember when you decided it took too long to fire up the laptop, so you got a smart phone and started doing most of your day-to-day communicating on the go?  Email just wasn’t fast enough, so you went to instant messaging.  And then Facebook wasn’t quick enough, so you had to add Twitter to your life.

Well, let’s face it; the smart phone is becoming annoyingly slow too.  Let’s say that you see something happening and you want to get a picture or a video.  You have to dig the phone out of your pocket, purse or briefcase, turn it on and select the photo app.  By then, the event you were trying to capture is over.  Bummer!

Or, you’re driving in heavy traffic and you suddenly remember something you need to take care of.  You’re afraid you’ll forget.  You need to write it down or record a memo.  Where is that stupid phone?  It’s dangerous to use it while driving, but you don’t want to risk forgetting to do this thing.  Argh!

Enter the newest smart technology that doesn’t need to be hunted down or turned on — a device that’s always at your beck and call, just waiting for you to tell it what to do next and streaming information to you on the go:  Google Glass.

Early versions of the product, which you may have seen in TV ads, made the wearer look like a malevolent warrior from a Sci Fi movie – not the sort of image you’d want to project if you value your business contacts or if you want to make new friends.

 

Thankfully, Google has seen the light and its geeks have sought the assistance of fashion experts to create a new line of eyewear with the Google Glass computer built into the frame. To compensate for the added weight of the computer, designers used über- lightweight titanium for the frames.  The design puts the computer screen just above your field of vision when you’re looking straight ahead so that it doesn’t interfere with your normal vision, yet  you only need to glance to the upper right when you want it.  You can control the computer with either voice commands, or, if you want privacy in a crowd, touch commands along the right temple of the eyeglass frame.

Watch the video to see how it feels!!

Is this just a fad or is it the next step in the information technology revolution?  It’s too early to tell, but here’s an interesting indicator:  Medical Doctors Carl Spitzer and Craig Rosenberg have teamed up to launch Healium, a company that develops software for the Google Glass device that can be used by EMT squads, in emergency rooms, or during surgery.  Making a medical professional’s use of technology hands free is huge.  It saves precious time, which could save lives. In the same context, Rhode Island Hospital’s Emergency Department announced that it will use Google Glass technology to stream live images of a patient’s medical condition to a consulting specialist located elsewhere. It’s the first in the nation to test Google Glass on medical conditions, see the link below:

http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140307-r.i.-hospitals-emergency-department-first-to-test-google-glass-on-medical-conditions-video.ece

Want to see what it looks like?   We have samples available to try on and explore.  They can be fitted with your prescription in a variety of lens styles, including single-vision, sunglass or progressives.  Frames and lenses are even eligible for subsidies through the VSP insurance program.  Come explore with us!