In case you’ve been living under a rock for a year, Google has been developing a wearable HUD (heads up display) system called Google Glass. If you’re unfamiliar with HUDs, think Ironman. Tony Stark sees the real world, but there’s also a digital overlay available to him with useful information, like how many missiles are incoming and how far away the ground is. While most of us don’t have to worry about how many missiles are heading toward us, many of us do get lost on the way to Panda Express, so a map could be useful. Sure, we have smartphones, but pulling them out and looking at them while navigating, especially while driving, can be tasking and dangerous. Looking slightly up at a little rectangular screen, like with Google Glass, is way less distracting, as you can still see in front of you when eyeing the HUD. But since Google Glass wears like, well glasses, how are they going to comfortably fit the totally unique and beautiful snowflake that is each person’s face? Well, I don’t know how Google will pull that off in 2014 when Glass is released, but I can tell you how they’ve been handling the issue for employees and developers so far: 3D printing — they’ve been 3D printing custom-fitted glasses for each Google employee lucky enough to get a pair.
If you need a custom fit for anything, the most cost effective method of manufacturing that fitted something is 3D printing. Some people have thin faces and others have wide faces; if it was just those two sizes, then injection molded pieces may be the way to go, but there are all the shapes and sizes in the middle. And perhaps Google does opt for just producing three or four sizes, leaving all the people with oddly-shaped heads to fend for themselves. But perhaps there’s an in between; it’s possible that Google could have a few sizes mass produced through conventional means and then also offer custom fits through 3D printing for people with weird heads. There’s also the potential of selling the electronics separately from the frame, and there could be an app that lets users put in their facial dimensions that then generates a digital file of a frame that can either be sent to a print service or printed on a personal printer.
Printing glasses frames has already been achieved [https://3dprinter.net/tinkercad-3d-printed-glasses], and while printing every frame for consumers may not be cost effective, that doesn’t mean 3D printing has to be completely removed from the Glass equation. Hopefully the people at Google are as creative as me, or at least readers of this site.
Source: 3D Printer Hub