A researcher with an innovative technology, an optician with knowledge of the eyewear market, and a business developer with experience in creating new companies — these are the ingredients for a new business that manufactures the world’s thinnest eyeglass lenses.
Monday 30 January 2023
With a groundbreaking technology for the production of eyeglass lenses, a spin-out from DTU will give persons wearing glasses completely new experiences with the world's thinnest eyeglass lenses.
The technology behind the ultra-thin eyeglass lenses could change the way eyeglass lenses are manufactured in the future, as it is based on nanotechnology in the form of thin laser-printed films on flat glass. The customers will then have their individually customised eyeglass lenses printed by the optician within half an hour.
“To begin with, especially customers who use strong glasses—that is minus 4 or plus 4 or more—will benefit from the new technology,” says Anders Kristensen, the inventor behind the Odyssey eyeglass lenses.
Thick eyeglass lenses that rest heavily on the bridge of the nose of sight-impaired persons will thus be a thing of the past. The new eyeglass lenses will be as thin as the lenses in ordinary sunglasses.
Together with two partners, Anders Kristensen has now set up the company ABH Optics Aps.
The right combination of knowledge
“Working with start-ups has been my principal occupation for the past many years,” says Bo Svarrer Hansen, co-founder of the new company, which will launch these ultra-thin eyeglass lenses on the market.
“I talked to an innovation manager at DTU, who had just received an exciting project—and this turned out to be Anders (Kristensen’s) project. That’s how we met and got started.”
The production of the ultra-thin eyeglass lenses is based on a brand-new technology.
"With the Odyssey lense, we’re completely changing the way eyeglass lenses are made. In the conventional technology currently used for eyeglass lenses, the lenses are manufactured by shaping the thickness of the optically transparent material,” explains Anders Kristensen.
"In Odyssey, we create the same optical function in a thin nanostructured film. This thin film consists of a huge range of nanostructures that we construct so that—when the light passes through the transparent film—the film controls the strength, phase, and polarization of the light. And the lenses are thin, regardless of how strong the lense needs to be. This means that the lenses are just as thin and light as in a pair of ordinary sunglasses.”
And thin lightweight eyeglasses are in great demand.
“Customers usually don’t complain because they aren’t aware that they can actually get thinner glass,” says optician and co-founder of ABH Optics, Henrik Bense-Petersen. “If a customer asks: Can I get the eyeglasses thinner? We answer: Yes, you can. But it's always difficult to align expectations—because when they ask for thinner glass, they mean much thinner than we’ve been able to produce so far. But now we’re actually at a level with the Odyssey lenses where we can meet the expectations for a really thin lense.”
Henrik Bense-Petersen believes that the new concept is groundbreaking.
“We want to change the eyewear industry by making ultra-thin lenses while the customer is in the store, so they only need to visit the store once. Instead of all the lenses today being produced in Asia, the final step will now be performed at the local optician.”
Bo Svarrer Hansen also sees great opportunities for the new company and partnership.
“Anders is the technician, he made the invention and has in-depth technical knowledge. Henrik knows all about how the customers think, how to sell glasses, and what the competitive situation looks like. I have knowledge of how to raise money and create a start-up. So we supplement each other really well.”
The three ABH Optics partners expect to be able to sell the ultra-thin eyeglass lenses to consumers within two years.
Funding for the project
In addition to EU funding, the Odyssey project has received DTU Proof of Concept funding twice as well as support from Innovation Fund Denmark’s InnoExplorer programme.
DTU's innovation ecosystem
DTU has one of the most well-developed ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship among technical universities in Europe.