PixelOptics (Pixel) of Roanoke, Virginia USA announced today that Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. of Ehime, Japan (Panasonic) will manufacture electronic lenses for PixelOptics' electronic focusing eyeglasses named emPower!™. The emPower! eyeglasses focus faster than the blink of an eye, have no moving parts, and change focus without making a sound. In March of 2010 at Vision Expo East in New York, New York, Pixel and Panasonic announced that they have been working together for the last two plus years to develop and optimize Pixel's electronic lenses.
Ron Blum, President and CEO of Pixel said, "I am delighted to be able to make this announcement. Panasonic is an outstanding company, with a long history of being best in class in electronics and manufacturing. They will deliver for Pixel an outstanding electronic focusing lens product."
Ron Blum further stated, "The lens product that will be manufactured by Panasonic will be an electronic semi-finished lens blank that is made out of 1.67 thin and lightweight optical grade plastic material having a very thin layer of liquid crystal buried beneath the front surface of the lens blank. This allows for virtually all prescriptions to be fabricated. Semi-finished lens blanks are an industry standard, having a known finished curvature on the convex side of the lens blank and being unfinished on the other side. However, prior to emPower! these standard semi-finished lens blanks had a static focus. This means that once shaped into the proper prescription or focus the prescription is frozen and is not capable of a change of focus. The emPower! electronic semi-finished lens blanks represents the first electronic semi-finished lens blanks in the world. The emPower! electronic semi-finished lens blanks are capable of dynamic focus and with appropriate processing into finished lenses are capable of changing focus from far to near while allowing clear vision of everything in between once fabricated to the wearer's eyeglass prescription."
Shinichi Hayase, Director, Device Business Unit of Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. confirmed that Panasonic will be manufacturing electronic lenses for Pixel. Shinichi Hayase stated, "It has been a pleasure assisting Pixel over the last approximately 3 years with the development of Pixel's revolutionary electronic focusing eyeglasses. We in Panasonic Healthcare now look forward to manufacturing the electronic semi-finished lens blanks for Pixel. This is very consistent with Panasonic's commitment to develop and manufacture products that improve health care for individuals around the world. It is also consistent with the Panasonic's brand platform, "Ideas for Life."
Bill Spies, Pixel's Chief Operating Officer added, "Pixel has worked very hard with Panasonic to develop electronic focusing eyewear that is plug-and-play. Pixel and Panasonic have developed a novel electronic semi-finished lens blank product that is capable of being processed by a typical optical laboratory using conventional free forming fabrication equipment. One of Pixel's goals was to do this without changing the manufacturing and distribution channels and without causing the optical laboratory to have to purchase additional equipment. While it is still early, it appears we have managed to achieve this goal. Once the electronic eyeglass blanks are processed by an optical laboratory into finished electronic lenses they are then mounted into eyeglass frames having electronics that enable the dynamic focusing of the electronic lenses."
Bill Spies further stated, "Pixel plans on launching emPower! in the first quarter of 2011. Pixel will first launch in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC and then begin to roll emPower! out region by region across the USA. Assuming all goes according to plan; Pixel will then launch Europe early in the second half of 2011 and Asia in 2012."
Yukinori Okazaki, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. added "It is indeed a pleasure to have now passed this project on to the Business Unit of Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. to assist Pixel in its scale up and manufacturing needs. emPower! represents a major step forward for providing better vision correction to the millions of patients worldwide who are afflicted with presbyopia. Presbyopia is a very common vision disorder that affects individuals at approximately 40 years of age. It causes these individuals to have trouble focusing on objects that are close at first and then also at their finger tip distance a few years later on."