Technology

Meta buys 3D-printed lenses startup Luxexcel to improve future AR glasses


Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, has acquired 3D-printed lenses startup Luxexcel Group B.V. for an undisclosed sum to improve future augmented reality glasses.

Founded in 2009 with operations in The Netherlands and Belgium, Luxexcel enables partners to 3D-print prescription lenses in volume, create better lenses and integrate smart technology in lenses. The company’s VisionPlatform includes a 3D print, software, printing processes and proprietary lens printing material, which combine to create high-quality lenses.

Although Luxexcel’s technology does produce high-quality prescription lenses, Meta’s interest in acquiring the company lies in its ability to enable the integration of technology into a lens to produce smart glasses. Luxexcel’s 3D printing technology allows for the integration of almost any device directly into a lens.

The technology includes the ability to add an exact prescription with integrated waveguides, different lens projection areas, holographic films or active foils inside the lens. It allows for the combination of prescription lenses and smart glasses, a process claimed by Luxexcel to be impossible with legacy lens manufacturing. Put more simply, Luxexcel’s technology could power the next generation of AR smart glasses.

Meta has worked with Luxexcel before on Project Aria, a project that seeks to bring augmented reality technology to ordinary glasses. “With Project Aria, we are building towards a future where our devices disappear into the flow of everyday life, enhance the world around us as we go and render our devices more human in design and interactivity,” Meta states on the project page. Having now acquired Luxexcel, that’s the broad direction in which Meta is heading.

The long-term goal for Meta is to move away from the bulky headsets typical in 2022 to a more seamless solution. 3DPrint.com noted today that with the acquisition, Meta could now develop prescription AR or VR sets that can be lighter and sleeker and wouldn’t require additional glasses.

Coming into its acquisition, Luxexcel had raised $22.8 million, according to Crunchbase. Investors in the company include Munich Venture Partners, Innovation Industries, SET Ventures, KLA Tencor and PMV.

Image: Luxexcel

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