Panasonic to Manufacture PixelOptics’ Lens Blanks

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ROANOKE, Va.—PixelOptics has tapped Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. of Ehime, Japan to manufacture the electronic lenses for emPower!, its electronic focusing eyeglasses. In March, 2010, Pixel and Panasonic announced that they have been working together for the last two plus years to develop and optimize the lenses.

“The lens product that will be manufactured by Panasonic will be an electronic semi-finished lens blank that is made out of 1.67 thin and lightweight optical grade plastic material having a very thin layer of liquid crystal buried beneath the front surface of the lens blank,” said Ron Blum, president and CEO of Pixel. “This allows for virtually all prescriptions to be fabricated.”

Bill Spies, Pixel’s chief operating officer, noted that the semi-finished blanks Panasonic will produce can be processed by a typical optical laboratory using conventional free forming fabrication equipment.

“One of Pixel’s goals was to do this without changing the manufacturing and distribution channels and without causing the optical laboratory to have to purchase additional equipment,” he remarked. “While it is still early, it appears we have managed to achieve this goal. Once the electronic eyeglass blanks are processed by an optical laboratory into finished electronic lenses they are then mounted into eyeglass frames having electronics that enable the dynamic focusing of the electronic lenses.”

Spies said Pixel plans on launching emPower! in the first quarter of 2011. A national roll-out will begin in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., followed by other regions of the country. Pixel will then launch in Europe early in the second half of 2011 and in Asia in 2012, “assuming all goes according to plan,” Spies said.