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Taking on Eyewear Industry Norms With a Two Lens Approach

Shamir’s new Driver Intelligence is focused on improving the driving experience for all drivers in all light conditions.




Taking on Eyewear Industry Norms With a Two Lens Approach

SAN DIEGO — How do you change the way eyewear is perceived?

The status quo for decades (centuries?) was, you get a pair of glasses to improve your sight and get on with your life. Some eyeglass wearers might have a backup pair for emergencies. Others might switch back and forth between glasses and contact lenses. But owning two or more pairs of eyeglasses, let alone more than three, remains viewed as more of a luxury than a necessity. (This despite the full encouragement of the eyecare industry otherwise.)

Shamir is out to change all that.

The Israel-based company is utilizing a mix of a key partnership, artificial intelligence-backed technology, and Big Data to make it happen.

Shamir unveiled its new Driver Intelligence this week at a special invitation-only presentation at the San Diego Automotive Museum. The new lenses are designed to help everyday drivers feel more confident and secure while driving in any light condition at any time of the day.

The key is two pairs of lenses.


The Sun is a prescription eyeglass designed for daylight driving. It features advanced filters that make colors appear more vivid, much like the technology used in Formula 1 racing helmet visors. The lenses are coated with Shamir Glacier Sun to reduce sun glare and ease cleaning.

The Moon is a prescription lens designed specifically for low-light and night driving. It is coated with anti-reflective Shamir Glacier Expression, which helps reduce visual noise and eye fatigue.

“We are taking a risk here,” admits Shamir National Sales Director Terry Wilcox. “I don’t know of any company that has come out with two pairs of glasses.”

Making Their Pitch

Raanan Naftalovich, the President of Shamir North America, kicked off Monday’s presentation before a group of eyecare industry professionals and members of the media. He spoke about how Shamir always has embraced innovation, and how this project got its start.

“When you are driving during the day, you have a very bright light. Then at night, you are moving from streetlights into dark into people who beam at you with their lights. There is a lot going on,” explains Naftalovich. “Nobody really addressed this issue. And then, three years ago, we joined a partnership with the Alpine Formula 1 team, and then we realized there was actually a lot to learn about how people drive.”


The partnership between Shamir and Alpine has proven pivotal. Professional drivers wore special eyewear that tracked eye and head movements. (Check out the video below.) Tests were conducted in the full spectrum of lighting environments. Data was collected and implemented into the design of the lenses.

“We partnered with Alpine. We didn’t just spend some money and have our sticker slapped on the car,” says Wilcox. “Our goals are aligned. They want team drivers to see better. (Shamir wants to bring) the benefits of technology to everyday drivers.”

Taking on Eyewear Industry Norms With a Two Lens Approach

Shamir conducted tests with everyday drivers, too. In addition, the company surveyed more than 1,000 individuals online to learn what matters most to them about the driving experience.

The results led Shamir to the two-lens solution. Two data points stood out:

— 75% of survey responders said they could embrace having two pairs of glasses – one for day driving and one for night – if the driving experience was improved.


— 90% of test drivers reported a better driving experience with the new lenses.

“People want one pair that does everything well,” says Wilcox. “You just can’t do that. But two pairs take care of that.”

A Doctor’s Perspective

Shamir didn’t just focus on outside-the-car lighting issues. It addressed in-cabin light sources in designing Driver Intelligence, too.

“Think about cars from years ago,” says Dr. Gary Gerber, a co-founder of Treehouse Eyes and a collaborator on the project. “Tech innovation was once putting a bumper on a car. From bumpers to driver assist, we’ve come a long way.

“What if your eyewear hasn’t kept up with that technology?”

The San Diego Automotive Museum was an apt venue to back up Dr. Gerber’s point. Most of the vehicles on display featured limited dashboard lights. Such is not the case with the modern cars of today.

Dr. Gerber said eyeglasses are a 700-year-old technology that hasn’t changed much in that time. He touted the use of technically advanced eyewear to match the technically advanced machines we drive.

“Can I use my daytime glasses at night?” asks Dr. Gerber. “Sure. We do stuff like that all the time. I’ve used a butter knife as a screwdriver many times.”

The point was well taken. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. He then concluded:

“A modern car needs a modern pair of glasses. These lenses were made specifically for driving.”

Words of a Pro

Professional race car driver Sébastien Bourdais shared his driving experiences and professional opinion with the assembled crowd. Joining him on the presentation stage was Shamir Insight Vice President of Marketing Phillip Pasit.

Bourdais is a former Formula 1 driver who made a name for himself on the U.S. Champ Car circuit, notably from 2003-2007 when he claimed four out of five season championships. He has worn eyeglasses since he was 5 years old. Though poor eyesight hasn’t stopped him from making a career out of racing, he certainly had to overcome it.

“I’m a good candidate to talk about vision and correction,” says Bourdais, 44. “I can definitely say, it’s really nice to finally have a company dedicating that many resources … specifically toward vision in cars, that is applicable as well in racing cars.”

Bourdais was born and raised in France but now lives with his wife and two children in Florida. He currently drives for Cadillac Racing.

He detailed the types of light interference race car drivers deal with behind the wheel, especially during night races: From a dashboard illuminated by countless lights, to the continuous blinking red taillights of fellow racers through the windshield, to the bright glare of headlights in the rearview mirror.

“Basically, it is like a Christmas tree in there. You have to go very fast without making mistakes,” says Bourdais. “When we talk about vision and the benefits of the Driver Intelligence system, I think it is pretty self-explanatory why it is so important.”

You can learn more about Shamir here.



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