VSP Global’s innovation lab, The Shop, has developed the first wearable tech prototype from a healthcare company to seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology into optical frames.
The prototype, dubbed Project Genesis, was a joint research venture by The Shop’s Sacramento and New York City labs, helmed by co-leads Jay Sales and Leslie Muller.
WHAT IT IS
Housed within the temple of Dragon Alliance frames, the current prototype accurately tracks steps, calories burned, and distance traveled. Wearers can monitor their stats in real time through the accompanying Android app, also designed by The Shop.
“Eyewear has been the most successful piece of ‘wearable technology’ for over 700 years,” says Muller. “With Genesis, we’re now adding additional value into the frame, but doing so in a seamless, fully integrated design that creates a richer experience for the wearer.”
Dragon is one of the incredible brands that VSP operates through our eyewear division, Marchon. Dragon’s own active, adventurous and innovative DNA made it the perfect fit for this project. As we explore new generations of the device, we look forward to integrating the technology into a number of frames on Marchon’s enviable family of owned and licensed brands.
We wanted to first test the capabilities of a product like this with our own employees on our campus in Sacramento, California. A group of 26 beta testers have been wearing the frames, tracking their progress, and providing invaluable feedback. This has allowed our talented team of Shop engineers to provide real-time hardware and software fixes as we develop the next generation of the prototype.
We wanted to start small. Today’s prototype includes high-tech sensors found in many other fitness trackers on the market today, including an accelerometer, a magnetometer, and a gyroscope to track steps, calories burned and distance traveled. The accompanying Android app lets the wearer track his or her progress in real time. Bluetooth syncs Genesis to the app; an embedded battery offers a three-day run time between 30-minute charges.
Our ultimate goal with this project is to provide the wearer with contextualized health data about themselves.
“Ultimately, this is not about just tracking steps and calories,” says Jay. “The goal with this project is to build on these initial capabilities and, in the future, provide our members with Contextual Health data about themselves that they can then use to feel empowered and make better decisions in their lives.”
Contextual Health is the concept of tracking one’s health metrics (steps, calories, heart rate, posture, gait, and much more) over a period of time. Through that data, the individual then has the potential to start identifying trends and behaviors that could create a more proactive healthcare model.
In this way, Contextual Health has emerged as an area of focus for The Shop, allowing VSP to explore solutions for a more holistic understanding of an individual’s overall health and wellness, which could result in better care.
It all boils down to spotting potential problems with your health before they become an issue, identifying the causes, and being empowered to do something about it.
As Jay says in the video, “this is day one–this is nanosecond one.” We’re so excited about the potential of Project Genesis and are forging ahead with additional research, testing, and newer versions of the device. We have the opportunity to work with some incredible partners already and are continuing to seek out new partnerships with other companies, start-ups and academic minds.
As Genesis continues to evolve, we’ll keep you updated on new developments. With our 60-year history in the eye care and eyewear industries, we’re so proud to be able to help drive technological advancements like this and provide solutions for the changing needs of our members over the next 60 years.
We’re always curious to explore new partnerships inside and outside our industry with companies, start-ups and academic institutions. Send Jay Sales and Leslie Muller a note at TalkShop@vsp.com. We may be able to work together.
Photo: The first Project Genesis prototype seamlessly integrates the health-tracking sensors, battery and Bluetooth technology in to the left temple of this Dragon Alliance frame. Can’t tell it’s there? That’s the point.
About The SHOP
VSP Global has been an innovative company for 60 years. Today, that spirit has a home in The SHOP, our innovation lab that focuses on developing technologies for the physical and digital aspects of eyewear and eye care. As disruption continues to change our industry, The SHOP will allow VSP Global businesses to stay ahead of the curve and provide forward-thinking solutions for our members worldwide.
The SHOP West
Located inside a former auto showroom in midtown Sacramento, the West Coast SHOP stands at the intersection of software and hardware (“the bits”) and focuses on delivering better eye care and products to patients and better workflow services to doctors.
The SHOP East
Inside Marchon Eyewear’s design center in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District, The East Coast SHOP explores how to push boundaries in industrial design, alternative manufacturing and materials (“the atoms”), and other technologies to reinvent the way eyewear is created, utilized and worn.