The Aspex Eyewear Group has been known so far mainly for its innovative technologies, such as its EasyClip magnetic clips, its EasyTwist memory metal eyewear and its TurboFlex spring hinges, which are marketed in more than 70 countries. The American company, founded by Nonu Ifergan in 1965, is now branching out into new fields of activity in the optical sector.

It has announced an agreement to develop and market a line of Greg Norman eyewear, named after the famous professional golfer. Comprising prescription glasses and sunglasses, it will be launched in the first quarter of 2011 and distributed through U.S. key accounts, independent opticians and non-optical retailers.

Meanwhile, an exclusive North American licensing deal between PixelOptics and Aspex Eyewear for PixelOptics' emPower electronic eyewear has been completed (see EWI, Vol. 11, No. 5&6). Under the deal, which will involve a license fee of million of dollars, Aspex will be the sole provider of electronic eyeglass frames in North America for many years.

The transaction was concluded after an independent clinical test, performed at six eye doctor's offices in three U.S. cities in June, showed that the new electro-optic technology introduced by PixelOptics is perceived by wearers as superior to one of the world's leading progressive lens designs in seven out of eight vision performance categories.

Aspex claims that the introduction of the new emPower electronic focusing technology in the optical industry could have an impact similar to that of the iPhone in mobile telephony.

PixelOptics may license Aspex for other territories. The company plans to sign up other licenses in Europe and South America this year, and in Asia in 2011. In Europe, additional licensees have been signed up including Optiswiss for the Swiss market and Austrian Optic Technologies for Austria, in the wake of Norville for the U.K., Avant Italiana for Italy, Optical Technology in Spain, Schulz in Germany, Danae Vision in Slovakia and El-Nour in Egypt.

As previously reported, Peter Zieman, European director of PixelOptics has already empowered Novacel Ophthalmic, one of the biggest French laboratories, to distribute its emPower lenses in France. They will be shown at next month's Silmo and sold on the French market from the first quarter of 2011.