ROCHESTER, N.Y. and LEUVEN, Belgium—Smart eyewear and AR technology company Vuzix Corporation and 3D printing pioneer Materialise NV have announced a collaborative effort to accelerate the design and production of smart eyewear using 3D printing technology. By integrating 3D printing into the manufacturing process, Vuzix and Materialise aim to accelerate the development of new innovations for enterprise applications, from warehouses to operating rooms. This collaboration will also enable third party technology, sports, and entertainment brands to rapidly introduce functional, fashionable and affordable smart eyewear to consumers using Vuzix's OEM components and designs, reducing the average manufacturing cycle from 18 months to three.

Augmented reality enhances user effectiveness in various industries by connecting them to key information in the digital world while staying hands-free and completely aware of the physical environment as well. Medical professionals rely on AR eyewear to access remote expertise during lengthy surgeries, while manufacturing and logistics companies utilize AR features to drive efficiency and reduce operational errors.

Vuzix and Materialise said that leveraging the flexibility of 3D printing in smart glasses production can significantly reduce design cycles, enabling a more agile response to the fast-paced introduction of technological advancements. The two companies plan to create exciting and innovative designs that cater to companies seeking to introduce fashionable and affordable smart eyewear to consumers.
Consumer applications of smart eyewear using Vuzix OEM components include on-screen displays of speed and heart rate for athletes, push notifications and navigation, speech-to-text translation and augmented reality gaming.

Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise, one of the largest 3D printing factories in the world and the largest manufacturer of 3D printed eyewear, said, “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. 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.”

Paul Travers, president and CEO of Vuzix, said, “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. Materialise offers several key advantages that align with our strategic outlook. We look forward to seeing what's possible together.”