Periodic Reporting for period 3 - FITSYOU (Development of a low cost, high resolution 270° 3D solution for full face capture to provide low cost customised eyewear)
Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-06-30
The eyewear market has evolved rapidly over the last 20 years with significant improvements in both materials used for eyewear and the manufacturing process. As a result, consumers have an ever-increasing choice of frames when selecting new eyewear. The process of fitting prescription eyewear for consumers has however not kept pace with the improvements in design, weight, durability etc. The result is that whilst a consumer in theory has a greater choice of eyewear, problems with poor fitting cause discomfort, misalignment of lenses and dissatisfied consumers returning glasses. More than half (55%) of customers end up leaving eyewear stores empty handed. This equates to 108 million adults in the UK and USA and an uncaptured revenue for retailers, opticians and brands of around US$26billion.
The primary reasons for poor fitting eyewear are:
Inter-pupillary distance (IPD) and the angle of the lenses (pantoscopic tilt) are paramount to delivering the correct prescription in the final eyewear product. These measurements are usually taken manually by professionals but the method of measurements and the variation in skill of the professional mean that one or both measurements are frequently inaccurate.
Current eyewear prescription methods cannot accurately cater for different facial shapes across different ethnic groups. By way of example, Chinese and Japanese people have completely different facial geometries to Europeans which presents problems for the European optician seeking to adequately serve a customer of, for example Japanese heritage, with eyewear products designed for Europeans.
The optical industry does not consider any facial measurements when selecting glasses for consumers. The choice is made purely aesthetically, then the frames, in some cases, can be made to fit by physically adjusting them. For consumers to purchase online, they do not have the benefit of trying on eyewear, they also do not know which frames may fit better than others. This is due to the fact that there are no discrete face sizes or frame sizes.
In the selling of eyewear within an optical store the only facial measurements used are the ones required for fitting prescription lenses. IPD is required for single vision and further measurements, such as pantoscopic tilt are required for bifocal and progressive lenses.
Fuel3D Technologies has identified that 3D scanning technologies, incorporating its own proprietary technology, can be applied to the eyewear market to capture the measurements required for both accurate prescription and custom/best fit. Discussions with the eyewear industry have confirmed that the measurement issues identified were manifest across the sector and current technologies being used continue to be rudimentary and do not deliver a ‘joined-up’, full solution.
3D scanning technologies have developed quickly with the launch of a number of new products with the capability to capture data that can be used to reconstruct 3D images. Both cost and size of scanning technology has reduced dramatically and has reached a point where these technologies have now been included in consumer devices e.g. iPhone-X. This consumable and accessible technology is driving new innovation in retail markets (including eyewear) and companies are now actively looking at ways to gain competitive advantage utilising 3D.
Capture and process a 270-degree 3D scan of the human face. The time to capture and process is important to ensure that the process does not unnecessarily prolong the time the consumer spends with the Ophthalmic professional. The total time to scan and process should therefore be less than a few minutes.
Identify the measurements of facial geometry required to deliver a best fit/custom solution. This will require consideration of both geometry of the human face and the geometry and construction of the eyewear frame.
From the scanned 3D image, calculate the IPD and other facial geometry measurem
An initial hardware prototype scanner was developed and trialled. Feedback from the trials identified a number of enhancements that were required to improve the user experience, reduce the footprint of the hardware and to enable the solution to operate in varied light and other environmental conditions.
During the latter part of 2017 new consumer mobile hardware was launched into the market by Apple with active structured light3D capture technology. Fuel3D quickly identified the potential to expand the FitsYou proposition to take advantage of the availability amongst consumers of this hardware. After validating the accuracy and precision of the Apple technology along with third party developer access Fuel3D integrated the Apple technology into its FitsYou platform, extending the FitsYou proposition to provide customers with an online/remote fitting and recommendation service for consumers that no longer requires the consumer to be in store.
Offering a solution that enables consumers to obtain fit and recommendation without having to visit a store in person is expected to enable eyewear retailers to significantly increase online conversion and sales.
Fuel3D is now actively marketing its FitsYou platform with fitting and recommendation technology and engaged in commercial discussions with potential customers.
The 3D scanning solution will also make it more commercially attractive for eyewear manufacturers to meet the needs of a wider ethnic customer base (with different facial geometric characteristic), increasing inclusivity and providing wider choice. The advent of consumer accessible technology in less developed countries also has the potential to be able to deliver lower cost prescription glasses remotely.