VSP GLOBAL’S INNOVATION LAB DEBUTS FIRST WEARABLE PROTOTYPE WITH PROJECT GENESIS
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., March 18, 2015 – Through the company’s innovation lab, The SHOP, VSP Global® is announcing the development of the first wearable tech prototype from a healthcare company to seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology into a pair of optical frames.
Dubbed “Project Genesis,” the development of the device was a joint venture by the company’s bi-coastal innovation lab, The SHOP. The project has been in secret development over the past 12 months, overseen by SHOP co-leads Jay Sales and Leslie Muller.
“As disruption continues to change our industry, VSP Global businesses need to stay ahead of the curve and provide forward-thinking solutions that meet the changing eye care and eyewear needs of consumers,” said Rob Lynch, CEO of VSP Global. “With an understanding of a rapidly changing marketplace and increased expectations from our clients and members, The SHOP’s purpose is to drive technological advancements that are helping to shape tomorrow’s optical industry.”
Project Genesis features sensor technology seamlessly housed within the temple of a pair of Dragon Alliance frames that tracks steps, calories burned, activity time and distance traveled. The device syncs via Bluetooth to a custom application, also designed by The SHOP, that the wearer can use to monitor their activity in real time through data visualization and personalized feedback.
“Eyewear has been the most successful piece of ‘wearable technology’ for over 700 years,” said Muller. “With Genesis, we’re now adding additional value into the frame, but doing so in a seamless, fully integrated design that creates a richer experience for the wearer.”
The SHOP is currently beta testing the first version of the prototype with 26 VSP Global employees at the company’s Sacramento, Calif. headquarters. Participants from the company’s employee wellness program have been providing real-time feedback to SHOP engineers and designers, allowing for rapid improvements to the prototype’s initial hardware and software designs.
“Wearable technology is exploding right now—some of it could be considered hype, some of it could be considered the start of a personalized medicine revolution,” said Sales. “The Genesis prototype is just that. It’s a first step at providing a deeper or richer level of contextualized health data through a device that a large portion of our members are already utilizing every day.”
Contextual Health is the concept of tracking one’s health metrics (steps, calories, heart rate, posture, gait, and much more) over a period of time. Through that data, the individual then has the potential to start identifying trends and behaviors that could create a more proactive healthcare model.
In this way, Contextual Health has emerged as an area of focus for The Shop, allowing VSP Global to explore solutions for a more holistic understanding of an individual's overall health and wellness, which could result in better care.
“Ultimately, this is not about just tracking steps and calories. The goal with this project is to build on these initial capabilities and, in the future, provide our members with contextual health data about themselves that they can then use to feel empowered and make better decisions in their lives,” said Sales.
Additional testing and development is already underway, with newer versions of the prototype slated to include more frame designs and additional sensors to provide more meaningful health data.
The SHOP is currently working with major academic institutions and is open to partnerships with other companies and startups—inside and outside the industry—to carry the project forward even further.
Interested organizations are encouraged to contact The SHOP directly at TalkSHOP@vsp.com.
About VSP Global
VSP Global® unites industry-leading businesses to bring the highest quality eye care and eyewear products and services to help people see across the globe. VSP Global businesses include not-for-profit VSP® Vision Care, the largest vision care company with more than 75 million members and a network of 32,000 eye doctors in the U.S., Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the three largest global manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity®, the largest EHR and premier practice management software company for the eye care industry; VSP Optics Group, industry leaders in new lens technologies, production processes, service and logistics; and VSP Retail, delivering a memorable consumer experience through a variety of channels that meet the diverse needs of VSP customers. VSP Global businesses operate in 100 countries on 6 continents.
About The SHOP
VSP Global® has been an innovative company for 60 years. Today, that spirit has a home in The SHOP, VSP Global’s innovation lab that focuses on developing technologies for the physical and digital aspects of eyewear and eye care. The SHOP stands for “Seeding and Harnessing Our Potential.” As disruption continues to change the optical and healthcare industries, The SHOP allows VSP Global businesses to stay ahead of the curve and provide forward-thinking solutions for the company’s members worldwide. The SHOP is comprised of two locations that work in tandem with one another:
- The SHOP West: Located in a former auto showroom in midtown Sacramento, the West Coast SHOP stands at the intersection of software and hardware, focusing on the delivery of better eye care and products to patients and better workflow services to doctors. Lead: Jay Sales, Innovation Strategist for VSP Global
- The SHOP East: Inside Marchon® Eyewear’s design center in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District, The East Coast SHOP explores how to push the boundaries in industrial design, alternative manufacturing and materials, and other technologies to reinvent the way eyewear is created, utilized and worn. Lead: Leslie Muller, VP of Design for Marchon Eyewear