ODYSSEY: A new EIC Pathfinder project promising game-changing innovation for eyeglasses industry

glasses on the desk
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Imagine you can get on demand prescription eyeglass lenses, which are laser-printed in the shop while you wait – that is exactly what the new Pathfinder project ODYSSEY proposes.

The history of using optical lenses as visual aids comprises thousand years. Now, with a help of nanotechnology, the ODYSSEY project brings an innovation that changes the way, how eyeglass industry works.  

The goal of the ODYSSEY project is to decentralize the manufacturing of prescription eyeglass lenses and bring it into optician shops where the ultra-light lenses can be made while the customer is waiting.

The ODYSSEY project builds on the novel laser printing technology, developed in the Pathfinder (FET-Open) CHROMAVISION project and a strong business plan designed in the FET Innovation Launchpad DeLight project. The innovative laser printing technology was developed at the Technical University of Denmark, which won the Excellent Science category at the 2018 Innovation Radar Prize for the new technology that allows to laser-print ultra-thin optical lenses for the mass market. In other words, the award-winning technology enables mass-customization of ultra-thin and ultra-light lenses – so-called flat-optics – with a wide application field, including on demand manufacture of prescription eyeglass lenses.

The combination of ultra-light lenses at the same price as today’s lenses and the ability to manufacture the lenses, while the customer is waiting, proposes the opportunity to disrupt eye-glass market to the benefit of the end-user: the consumer will have a choice e.g. to get rid of too heavy glasses with thick lenses.  

The project starts in September 2020 and will last for 24 consecutive months. In the research team, there are institutions and organizations from Denmark, Greece and Sweden. The coordinating research institution is the Technical University of Denmark (Department of Health Technology).

ODYSSEY was selected among 28 proposals submitted for the 2019 the EIC Transition to Innovation Activities call (FETPROACT-EIC-06-2019). The call sought for promising technologies as they were at the end of a typical FET-Open or FET Proactive project (i.e., TRL 2/3) to a level of development, validation and demonstration where they became a credible basis for entrepreneurship, business creation, investment and, ultimately, economic and/or societal returns. The call invited applications to further develop results from previous or on-going FET projects in the 5 areas: micro and nano-technologies, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment (where ODYSSEY had applied), low-carbon energy and climate change technologies and interaction technologies.

See also

Background information

FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.

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