Essilor, CNRS Partner to Invent Lenses With Active, Connected Functions

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Essilor and CNRS (French National Center of Scientific Research) have signed a new research agreement for a five-year collaboration between Essilor and the LAAS-CNRS laboratory. Within this new Toulouse-based laboratory named OPERA (OPtique EmbaRquée Active, Active On-Board Optics), a joint, multidisciplinary team of researchers and engineers will pursue research on lenses and glasses with active and connected functions.

“These emerging technologies will help us to invent future generations of optical lenses with improved performance in visual correction and comfort as well as new uses of eyewear,” Essilor said in a statement released yesterday.

LAAS-CNRS’ area of expertise includes embedded electronics, photonics, and robotics. The lab also developed a high level technological platform dedicated to the design and construction of prototypes. Essilor said it will bring its expertise in optics and vision, optical materials technologies, and its knowledge of consumer needs in the field of ophthalmic products to this joint research venture. This shared laboratory is part of the research areas that Essilor and CNRS identified in their joint research agreement signed in April 2015 by the two organizations.

The French National Center for Scientific Research is Europe's largest public research institution. With nearly 33,000 employees, a budget exceeding 3.3 billion euros in 2014, and offices throughout France, the CNRS is present in all scientific disciplines through more than 1,100 laboratories. With 20 Nobel laureates and 12 Fields Medal winners, the organization has a long tradition of excellence. It carries out research in all scientific, technological and societal fields.

With a 650-strong work force, the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS) is one of the largest CNRS intramural research units. Based in Toulouse (southwestern France), it carries out research in four disciplines: information technology, automatics, robotics and micro- and nano-systems. It has been one of Essilor's academic partners for more than 10 years. A first joint laboratory (Pix-cell; 2005-2010) made it possible to highlight the key role of discontinuous active optical functions in ophthalmic optics and develop the basis for this technology.