Talking tech since 2003

This post is to tell you about an extremely cool-looking new business that’s started up in San Francisco called Protos Eyewear that’s looking to raise $25,000 in 60 days. But first, a trip down memory lane:

When I was in seventh grade, my mom, my Spanish teacher, and my optometrist figured out that the reason I was doing so poorly in class was because I couldn’t see the board from the back of the room. In truth, I sat in the back because I didn’t want to do well in Spanish class, because I hated it, but the three of them were right about one thing: I couldn’t see too well. I was prescribed some eyeglasses for seeing distances, and a few years later I realized I’d look smarter if I just wore them all the time. Good thing I came to that realization, as now I have to wear them all the time, and people just assume I’m smart (even though, you know, I’m kinda not).

As years went on, finding the right glasses for me was always a major hassle. Eventually, the Internet bailed me out, and I started entering my prescription to an online glasses retailer. That way I could order inexpensive glasses often enough that I could ditch whatever I didn’t like, and keep what I did. Even still, the trial-and-error process was still more annoying than I’d have liked it to be.

That brings me back to Protos Eyewear, which will not only make you look smart, but looks like a pretty smart idea itself. Today, the San Francisco start-up have launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $25,000 to help get the company off the ground. What makes Protos different is its use of 3D printing technology and its advanced algorithms to manufacture highly personalized frames that are specially designed to fit each and every individual’s face just right. That means no more trial and error, no more poorly made glasses: you’ll get the perfect fit.

What’s also really exciting to me about Protos is that they’re embracing the idea of 3D printing, and that having a 3D printer may someday become standard in the United States. At one time cell phones were viewed as a luxury item that only a certain kind of person would own. Owning one set you apart. Now, not having a cell phone is what makes you different. If that’ll be the case with 3D printers as well, then Protos may be taking the first steps in what’ll be a whole new business model: helping facilitate the creation of personalized, high-quality products that you make in your own home.

As of now, it looks like Protos is working on developing a user-friendly ordering process that its customers will be able to use from wherever they are. After that, Protos makes the glasses and sends them to your doorstep. Take a look at this video explaining the fitting process:


As you can see, holding the credit card up is a way for Protos’ computers to work out the scale of your facial features, and develop the right frames for you based on that. I’m definitely intrigued by this. While I can’t quite afford the base-level pledge of $199 that would get me a pair of frames, I’m going to keep my eye on Protos and see what happens. I suggest you do the same.


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