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.”
Contextualized health data 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.
“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.