Saturday, January 24, 2009


I came across this technology almost two years ago when I was asked to assist in the development of a proposal for EU R&D funding about personalized spectacles. Long story short, we eventually won an RTD funded project that will produce some stunning results in the next four years. One of the key technologies that we shall use is presented in the clip above. It's been called eyemade by its inventor, Catalan company Indo. As it is explained in the infomercial, lens geometries for progressive lenses, destined to aid complex eye deficiencies (quite common in older age demographics), are typically based on some half a dozen standard lens designs. What Indo together with IBV, a Research Institute in Valencia, discovered five/six years ago is that, via the combined head and eye movements, each one of us has a unique way of looking at objects, literally! That's what they called a person's 'visual strategy'. Visual strategies, depicted by what Indo baptized 'visual maps' are found to be as unique to each one of us as our fingerprints. In the clip it is shown how a typical map looks like. Based on that information, Indo R&D engineers managed to create progressive lens design methodologies that create 'personalized' lenses (eyemade: made for your eyes, that is) mapped one to one with a person's unique visual strategy. The result of this invention not only yields broader and sharper visual fields but also shortens immensely the period a person needs to adapt to a new pair of personalized progressive lenses. Indeed, end users of conventional progressive designs have a tough time during a considerably long initial period to have their eyes adapt to their new lenses. Dizyness and vomitting are common phenomena during this time. This all seems to go away in a heartbeat with the 'eyemade' personalized lenses. Cool, innit?

I am not that 'blind' to need such lenses yet but I had the testimony of a great friend of mine whom I'd trust with my life. The poor sod has got combined myopia -6.5 with presbyopia +5 and some serious degree of astigmatism for a very long time. For many years he's been using all sorts of designs and spectacles with average to low level of satisfaction. Then he tried the eyemade line. He told me that the first time this happened it felt like 'I saw the light' all over again. So, folks, this thing seems to work as specified.

There's a problem though... there's always a problem. If you decided to go to your local opticians and talk about this technology next time you'll need progressive lenses you are likely to find them totally unaware of the technology. Indo has done very little investment to launch this outside of Spain. Here and there you can find some opticians who seem to have heard about it. I am talking about Belgium, that is. Thankfully, I was lately told that this was about to change. There's been a recent management overhaul that put some new general management and marketing mavericks at the steering wheel of the company. These new kids seem to be quite seasoned marketeers. I've already seen a major improvement on their homepage, which is by all means worth a visit if you are interested in the subject matter. I always argued, if 'eyemade' was invented in some big shot place, like Stanford or MIT, the entire planet would have known. I don't get it why we have always been so modest and low key marketeers in Europe!

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