Dixie Dansercoer’s job is one that most people can only dream of: he is a polar explorer, and after conducting several record-breaking expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic, he now guides small groups of intrepid travelers around the Polar Regions. Eyewear is all-important in the harsh environments Dixie frequents, but due to his high nose bridge, conventional sunglasses often left a fatal gap between his face and the frame of the sunglasses. Materialise and SEIKO Optical, together with Hoet Design Studio, recently partnered up to create the award-winning Xchanger sports eyewear: a completely customizable, 3D-printed range of sunglasses, which was the perfect solution to Dixie’s problems in finding eyewear to fit his needs. We took the opportunity to speak to him about his experiences with the Xchanger sunglasses during one of his rare visits to his home in Belgium.
Far from its days as a niche technology, 3D Printing now accounts for more than 90% of the world’s in-ear hearing aids: and that’s just one example of how 3D Printing is making waves in the manufacturing sector across diverse industries. At Materialise, we’ve announced five major eyewear manufacturing projects in the past year alone, in addition to several 3D-printed fashion collaborations and other consumer products.
When the SEIKO Xchanger collection of 3D-printed sports eyewear was introduced at the Silmo optical fair in Paris this month, it won the prestigious Silmo d’Or Award for sports equipment. With this collaboration between SEIKO Optical Europe, Materialise, and Hoet Design Studio, 3D Printing is making its presence known in the eyewear industry. Here’s what this award-winning collection offers the sportively-inclined amongst us. Combining performance, comfort and personalization, so you never have to exchange these elements for each other: instead, the Xchanger lets you keep all these and exchange frame components instead to best fit your style and sport.