An innovative collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and Design and the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra (UC), has resulted in the development of hyperpersonalised eyewear.
The ID7 Project, which combines the efforts of Industrial Design students, in conjunction with the UC Eye Clinic, harnesses emergent technologies – such as augmented reality and 3D resin printing – to elevate the product and user experience. Not only are frames custommade to fit individuals’ needs, the user-centric model ensures the patient is involved in the design process.
Professor Jason Bainbridge, Executive Dean at the Faculty of Arts and Design, says the collaboration is part of UC’s broader desire to work collaboratively towards shared goals.
“This was one of the early projects Michelle Lincoln, the Executive Dean of Health, and myself thought would be an interesting collaboration opportunity – working with the optometry clinic, bringing in our Industrial Design students and really working towards a shared outcome,” Professor Bainbridge told mivision.
“One of the trends in design over the last few years, has been hyper-personalised design, which involves including the stakeholders in the co-creation of the outcome. The challenge for us was thinking through what this would look like in the context of eyewear.
“With COVID-19 and the ongoing challenges it poses, we were interested in the ways in which we could capitalise on the digital environment to create an interface where the client could actually engage with the construction of their own eyewear,” said Prof Bainbridge.
The project began with design students conducting research with the industry client, the UC Eye Clinic, to understand the nature of eyewear fitting and how to maximise userexperience. The traditional experience was then replaced with a digitally-driven alternative, whereby a patient visits the ID7 website, is able to test their own creation using a digital try-on feature, then visits the UC Eye Clinic for fitting, and later collection of their new eyewear.
From initial concept to the final product, the project involved students working with 3D modelling, 3D printing, robotic stress testing, augmented reality programming and exhibition design.
The frame material is made from a UV cured resin, produced through a liquid resin 3D printing process, which enables the highly customisable nature of the frames. Users are able to have their face measured, and then 3D printers will create their custom frames to the millimetre.
Each frame also features a ball bearing and spring which replaces screw-hinges so that an even amount of pressure is applied and only minimal adjustment is needed overtime. This design element also creates a modular system which allows for different frames faces to be switched with the same temples, increasing customisability.
In terms of how much input the user has in the design of their eyewear beyond this, Prof Bainbridge says they can choose lens shape, and pick from a range of colour schemes.
“Indeed users can get an idea, in that initial interaction, of what the frame looks like on their face without having to go into a clinic and try different glasses on, and the idea is that we would scale up to provide more colour and style options as the project continues.”
Operating as a student-led project within the university, all production is based locally in Canberra. Prof Bainbridge says the project showcases the creative strengths of the city and demonstrates the high-level results that can come of a design-led project.
“From the conception of a project, to prototyping the various approaches to the problem, thinking about how to re-design eyewear in this environment has demonstrated what a design-led project, in a largely health space, looks like. It’s really exciting for everyone involved.”