Hoya Vision Care used the international platform of the Silmo trade show in Paris at the end of September to present a new integrated offer of spectacles and lenses to the market, called Yuniku, describing it as the world's first tailored eyewear that is entirely designed to provide optimal vision for the wearer.

More and more companies, including Sfered, which we are going to discuss in a later issue, are offering 3D eyewear, but according to Hans Werquin, the chief executive of Hoya Vision Care Europe, their systems are “frame-centric,” whereas Hoya's system is “vision-centric.”

Yuniku is the result of three years of research and is based on a partnership with Materialise, the leading provider of 3D printing software and services, which started a partnership for sports eyewear with Seiko one year ago. The first line of frames has been designed by Hoët, the studio that has been dealing with 3D glasses for many years, but the system is open to collaboration with other suppliers and designers of prescription frames.

Materialise and Hoët are both based in Belgium. They are both pioneers in the use of 3D printing. Materialise, which works also with Adidas, Airbus and many other companies, has more than 25 years of experience in the sector and one of the largest 3D printing facilities in the world.

With this patent-pending process, Hoya is proposing a new dispensing mode for glasses. The customer is invited to choose a frame and to stand in front of a virtual mirror that will scan the parameters of his eyes and his face, including the ear inserts; in 20 milliseconds. One minute later, after processing the data, the mirror will give him a taste of the best-fitting shapes for that model and others, and allow him to further adjust the glasses, adding choices of colors and texture.

In contrast with other systems, the optician will also ask the customer about the main uses that he will make with the glasses, such as sitting in front of a computer or driving, generating additional data that will allow Hoya to produce the most suitable lenses for the chosen 3D frame. The whole process doesn't last more than 15 minutes. The customized glasses will be assembled by Hoya and shipped back to the store in an attractive case.

Hoya launched the new project after conducting blind tests against conventional dispensing systems in Belgium and Germany. The tests proved, among other things, that the system improves the perceived intermediate and lateral vision of the wearer.

The company hopes to find many opticians throughout Europe that will adopt its system, based on market research showing that 48 percent of customers spend more in a store when the shopping experience is personalized.

The research also shows that a customer's experience with the store's staff is a decisive factor in making a purchase in 64 percent of the cases, while price is a factor for only 10 percent of customers.