Fitz Frames, a California-based startup, is looking to modernise children’s eyewear production with 3D printing and digitisation. The company has developed an app which parents can use to provide measurements and digitally simulate a “try-on” process. As a result, it streamlines the process of developing children’s glasses and allows for more comfortable options.
The company has already found a home in the Youngstown Business Incubator, with another Youngstown company supplying the lenses once parents settle measurements and pick the lenses they find most suitable. Parents can submit a picture of their child which provides the exact measurements and can serve as a basis for simulating the eventual glasses. Fitz Frames 3D prints the spectacles, packages them and delivers the set directly to the customer.
The idea sprung up from the shopping experiences of founder and co-CEO Heidi Hertel. Hertel has children who have worn glasses since they were toddlers and she has often been disappointed by the process of shopping for their eyewear. Retailers provide sparse choices, so it can be difficult to find a frame in the style and color a child likes. Similarly, children’s glasses are also limited in size leading to very few options for vastly different ages. As a result, manufacturers can fail to account for the size difference between a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old.
Advantages of 3D Printed Glasses For Kids
As Hertel notes, there are many crucial reasons you need a precise fit for your child’s glasses. Without glasses, kids performance in school and in their athletics can severely suffer. Unfortunately, kids can be picky about color, size, shape and how the pair rests on their face. There’s also the problem that children will refuse to wear their glasses if they aren’t comfortable. As mentioned previously, companies are providing very limited sizes, so Fitz Frames stepped in. “It’s really hard to check all of those boxes off in one single pair of glasses,” Hertel said.
Fitz Frames was also dedicated to manufacturing their products within the US. This proved difficult using traditional manufacturing, due to expenses, so they turned to additive manufacturing. “3D printing just became the optimal solution, so we’re really, really excited about it,” Hertel said.
While they’re not the first to have the idea of 3D printing glasses, Fitz Frames brings in some interesting options. The company’s app is an interesting addition with a simple, convenient simulation set-up. Similarly, they also provide sunglasses and blue-light glasses, with two different payment plans.
Although the company is still in their beta phase, they hope to launch in the Apple Store in mid-July. An Android version of the app is also following soon after. The company has raised seed funding from friends and families, and now has the aid of Youngstown Business Incubator. The company is expanding and looking to hire new employees. All in all, it looks like a novel idea with a lot of interest behind it.
Featured image courtesy of Fitz Frames, retrieved via Crainscleveland.com