e-Vision Smart Optics, Inc. (Sarasota, FL)

A method of manufacturing an optic involves disposing electronic circuits on a substrate. It also involves depositing an initial resin on the first side of the electronic circuitry and curing that first resin to form a first optical segment. The method is further characterized by depositing another resin on the second part of the electronic circuitry and curing the second resin in order to create an additional optical segment. The optical segments first and second cover the electronic circuitry. The first resin and the second resin can include several droplets of resin which reduces the force exerted on the electronic circuitry during printing, and also allowing for a more comfortable contact between the resin and electronic circuitry. Therefore, electronic circuitry with a smaller dimensions can be utilized to form the electronic eyewear.

Eyewear that includes functional electronics (also referred to as electronic eyewear) can offer advanced functions for users. For instance lenses can contain an electro-active component to create an electro-active lens. The electro-activematerial any change its refractive index or transmission in response to an electric voltage. This means that the electro-active lens is able to dynamically alter its power and transmission as controlled by the user or automatically triggered by environmental conditions, such as the intensity of the light. An electro-active lens can also be equipped with electronic components in it to provide, for instance, electrical power and signals that support the activation.

The electro-active lens is generally made by a molding process in which the material used for making it is either put into a mold or injecting into it. Once the electronic is cured or hardened and the lens material is hardened, it can be placed in the mold to encapsulate the electronic. The process of molding electro-active lenses has many disadvantages. First, the electronics have to be heavy enough to withstand the mechanical force exerted during the process of molding (e.g.,imposed by the lens material onto the electronics). The electronic could therefore be smaller in the event that they didn’t have to go through the mold process. It is also difficult to align the lens material to the electronic while molding. In many cases the molding process leaves gaps between the electronics and optical components of the lens. The gaps can degrade the optical characteristics of the lens. The third issue is that the molded lens might need to be polished, ground or machined to provide the required prescription, without damaging the embedded electronics. This means that the embedded electronics must be rugged enough to withstand finishing, which in turn implies that the embedded electronics must be large and heavy.These are only a few of the challenges associated with molding electro-active lenses.

The systems, apparatus as well as methods and devices discussed herein are able to make electronic eyewear making use of three-dimensional (3D), printing techniques. In one case an approach to manufacturing an optic includes disposing electronic circuitry on a substrate and the electronic circuitry has one side and an additional side that is opposite to the first. This method includes depositing a resin on the first side in order to create an optical segment and curing it. The method is further characterized by depositing another resin on the second side of the electronic circuitry, and curing the second resin to create an additional optical segment. The electronic circuitry is encapsulated with the optical segment that is first and second.

In a further instance, a method for making an electro-active lens includes depositing an initial number of clear resin droplets on an area and curing the initial set of resin droplets that are transparent to form the first section of the electro-active lens. The first component of the ophthalmic lens having an upward-facing side. The method also includes disposing an electro-active element on the upward-facing surface of the first portion of the electro-activeophthalmic lens and the electro-active element has at least one of a variable transmittance or a variable optical power. The method includes also putting another set of transparent resin droplets on the electro-active element as well as on an exposedportion of the upward-facing portion of the first section of the electro-active Ophthalmic Lens. The method is further characterized by curing the second plurality of resin droplets that are transparent to create another section of the electro-active lens. The second part of the electro-active ophthalmic lenses is curved to a radius selected to provide a predetermined optical power. It also creates, together with the initial part of the electro-active ophthalmic lens, a hermetic seal about the electro-active element.

Another illustration of 3D printing (3D printing) is printing the resin layer on the first side of electronic circuitry. The second side needs to be printed. After curing the resin layer, the first layer is formed to form at most a small part of an optical segment. The method also involves printing a second layer resin on the second side of electronic circuitry, and curing the second layer to form at least part of a second optical segment. The electronic circuitry forms electronic eyewear from the first optical segment that is the second segment, and the second segment.

Another instance is an apparatus that incorporates electronic circuitry and an electro-active component. The electro-active element includes the first layer, which is an electro-active material that is disposed on the first layer and a second layer disposedon the electro-active material. The electro-active substance is sealed with the first layer as well as the two layers are not bonded. A printed optical element is positioned on the device and overlies it. The optical element being in contact with electronic circuitry.

It should be appreciated that all combinations of the foregoing concepts as well as additional concepts that are which are further discussed below (provided the concepts do not appear to be mutually inconsistent) can be considered part of the inventive subject matter disclosed herein. Particularly any combinations of claimed subject matter appearing at the end of this disclosure are contemplated as being part of the inventive subject matter disclosed in this document. It should also be appreciated that terminologyexplicitly employed herein that also may appear in any disclosure incorporated by reference should be accorded a meaning most consistent with the particular concepts disclosed herein.

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