By Jeremy Joven


With numerous Kickstarter campaigns focusing on the advancements of the decades-old technology of 3D printing, one starts to wonder what applicable real-world use this technology will actually bring to the table. So far it has been taunted as a revolutionary tool that will change everything about small-scale, quick-turnaround manufacturing. Yet all we have to show for it seems to be useless junk catered to curious grown-ups who want to play with plastic modeling.

Thankfully, in a city of thinkers, a revolutionary product is about to emerge. Protos, a new startup spearheaded by experienced eyewear experts and industrial designers, is about to give you a reason to look forward to the future of 3D printing. They are solving one of the most common yet unresolved issues in eyewear—the perfectly fitting glasses. As a glasses enthusiast, it is hard to find a pair that fits your face perfectly, let alone one that doesn’t slip on your nose. With Protos, gone will be the days of constantly having to reposition your glasses with each slight movement.

It all began over two years ago when friends Marc Levinson and John Mauriello attended California College of the Arts for industrial design, with Doug Ponciano in architecture. While looking for a great project that served their combined talents, the guys saw a need to help Ponciano with his slipping-eyewear issue. Hence Protos was born. Levinson serves as the CEO and the team’s visionary leader, Mauriello is the CAD expert and chief design officer, and Ponciano acts as programming genius behind the technology that powers what makes Protos customizable. After years of prototyping and conception, the trio is joined by Richart Ruddie, the team’s marketing maverick, and James Peo, CCO and optical oracle with the skills to perfect aesthetic and function when it comes to eyewear. Together, they’re creating the future of eyewear.

What makes Protos special is the product’s customization. Eyewear is measured to cater the client by a proprietary software designed by Ponciano to measure the size of the client’s bridge, eye distance, and other configurations, all customized to build glasses with the perfect fit. Unlike designer eyewear that only produces one or two sizes for glasses, Protos will offer a range of 200 measurements per style or, if you’re obliged to spend more. a completely customized pair made just for you.

The team sampled countless options when it came to the plastic material used for the glasses for 3D printing and came up with its own proprietary recipe that made it possible to have a bendable, durable, and stylish product. And best of all, the material is sustainable and recyclable, made with vegetable-based plastics often used for medical purposes. The end result is a beautiful piece of technological marvel that combines an artful aesthetic, function, and polish beyond what is commonly available today.

Protos is set to launch its Kickstarter campaign to jumpstart the company’s offerings this May, with a number of designs featuring a sustainable promise: made here in California, assembled right here in San Francisco. In a few months’ time, the team hopes to get its algorithm perfected to customize your eyewear through the web, going beyond virtual try-ons from competitors.

This is only the beginning for Protos. The parent company sees a future where many other products will be produced via 3D printing to simplify, customize, and revolutionize manufacturing in America, all the while staying competitive, with quick prototyping and turnaround for today’s tech-hungry consumers. With a good start for a useful 3D printing product, we can now look forward to a future where the possibilities of this technology can someday print almost anything you’d ever want.



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This article was published in:
Idea Issue - Released March 2013
Issue 2 / Version 3 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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