Panasonic to Manufacture PixelOptics' Electronic Focusing Eyeglass Lens Blanks

Dec 13, 2010, 08:00 ET from PixelOptics

ROANOKE, Va., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- PixelOptics  (Pixel) of Roanoke, Virginia USA announced today that Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. of Ehime, Japan (Panasonic) will manufacture electronic lenses for PixelOptics' electronic focusing eyeglasses named emPower!™. The emPower! eyeglasses focus faster than the blink of an eye, have no moving parts, and change focus without making a sound. In March of 2010 at Vision Expo East in New York, New York, Pixel and Panasonic announced that they have been working together for the last two plus years to develop and optimize Pixel's electronic lenses.  

Ron Blum, President and CEO of Pixel said, "I am delighted to be able to make this announcement. Panasonic is an outstanding company, with a long history of being best in class in electronics and manufacturing. They will deliver for Pixel an outstanding electronic focusing lens product."  

Ron Blum further stated, "The lens product that will be manufactured by Panasonic will be an electronic semi-finished lens blank that is made out of 1.67 thin and lightweight optical grade plastic material having a very thin layer of liquid crystal buried beneath the front surface of the lens blank. This allows for virtually all prescriptions to be fabricated. Semi-finished lens blanks are an industry standard, having a known finished curvature on the convex side of the lens blank and being unfinished on the other side. However, prior to emPower! these standard semi-finished lens blanks had a static focus. This means that once shaped into the proper prescription or focus the prescription is frozen and is not capable of a change of focus. The emPower! electronic semi-finished lens blanks represents the first electronic semi-finished lens blanks in the world. The emPower! electronic semi-finished lens blanks are capable of dynamic focus and with appropriate processing into finished lenses are capable of changing focus from far to near while allowing clear vision  of  everything in between once fabricated to the wearer's eyeglass prescription."

Shinichi  Hayase, Director, Device Business Unit of Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. confirmed  that Panasonic will be manufacturing electronic lenses for Pixel. Shinichi Hayase stated, "It has been a pleasure assisting Pixel over the last approximately 3 years with the development of Pixel's revolutionary electronic focusing  eyeglasses.  We in Panasonic  Healthcare now look forward to manufacturing the electronic semi-finished lens blanks for Pixel. This is very consistent with Panasonic's commitment to develop and manufacture products that improve health care for individuals around the world. It is also consistent with the Panasonic's brand platform, "Ideas for Life."  

Bill Spies, Pixel's Chief Operating Officer added, "Pixel has worked very hard with Panasonic to develop electronic focusing eyewear that is plug-and-play. Pixel and Panasonic have developed a novel electronic semi-finished lens blank product that is capable of being processed by a typical optical laboratory using conventional free forming fabrication equipment. One of Pixel's goals was to do this without changing the manufacturing and distribution channels and without causing the optical laboratory to have to purchase additional equipment. While it is still early, it appears we have managed to achieve this goal. Once the electronic eyeglass blanks are processed by an optical laboratory into finished electronic lenses they are then mounted into eyeglass frames having electronics that enable the dynamic focusing of the electronic lenses."  

Bill Spies further stated, "Pixel plans on launching emPower! in the first quarter of 2011.  Pixel will first launch in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC and then begin to roll emPower! out region by region across the USA. Assuming all goes according to plan; Pixel will then launch Europe early in the second half of 2011 and Asia in 2012."

Yukinori Okazaki, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. added "It is indeed a pleasure to have now passed this project on to the Business Unit of Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd.  to assist  Pixel  in  its  scale  up  and  manufacturing  needs.   emPower!  represents  a  major  step  forward  for providing  better  vision  correction  to  the  millions  of  patients  worldwide  who  are  afflicted  with presbyopia.   Presbyopia  is  a  very  common  vision  disorder  that  affects  individuals  at  approximately  40 years  of  age.   It  causes  these  individuals  to  have  trouble  focusing  on  objects  that  are  close  at  first  and then also at their finger tip distance a few years later on."

About   PixelOptics:  Headquartered in  Roanoke, Virginia, PixelOptics (Pixel) is committed to "transformational innovation" in the spectacle lens industry.  The company's focus is on improving and elevating the current standard of vision correction by way of inventing, developing and marketing a wide range of innovative new products based on dynamic focusing lenses, innovative lens design technologies, and composite optics.  Pixel is dedicated to helping patients / consumers see better and more comfortably, while at the same time helping the vision care / optical industry to grow.  For additional information please visit: www.pixeloptics.com .

About Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd.: Panasonic Healthcare Co, Ltd., headquartered in Matsuyama, Japan, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) that specializes in the development and manufacture of healthcare products, including blood glucose monitoring systems, ultrasound diagnostic systems  and  hearing instruments.  Founded in 1948, the company has  been developing cutting-edge technologies in in-vitro diagnostic systems, medical imaging, hearing solutions, medical instruments and hospital  systems  to  provide  value-added  solutions to healthcare  professionals  and  patients.  The previous corporate name was Panasonic Shikoku Electronics Co., Ltd., which was changed to the current name on October 1, 2010. For more information, visit http://panasonic.net/corporate/segments/phc.

Contact: Clay Musslewhite, PixelOptics, 540.567.5079, cmusslewhite@pixeloptics.com

Contact: Michael Goodwin, Makovsky + Company Inc, 212.508.9639, mgoodwin@makovsky.com



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