Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, has acquired 3D printed lenses startup Luxacel Group B.V. for an undisclosed sum to improve future augmented reality glasses.

Founded in 2009 with operations in The Netherlands and Belgium, Luxexcel enables partners to 3D print prescription lenses in volume, create better lenses and integrate smart technology in lenses. The company’s VisionPlatform includes a 3D print, software, printing processes and proprietary lens printing material, which combine to create high-quality lenses.

While Luxacel’s technology does produce high-quality prescription lenses, Meta’s interest in acquiring the company lies in its ability to enable the integration of technology into a lens to produce smart glasses. Luxacel’s 3D printing technology allows for the integration of almost any device directly into a lens.

Luxacel’s technology includes the ability to add an exact prescription with integrated waveguides, different lens projection areas, holographic films, or active foils inside the lens. The technology allows for the combination of prescription lenses and smart glasses, a process claimed by Luxacel to not be possible with legacy lens manufacturing. Put more simply, Luxacel’s technology could power the next generation of AR smart glasses.

Meta has worked with Luxacel before on Project Aria, a project which seeks to bring augmented reality technology to ordinary glasses. “With Project Aria, we are building towards a future where our devices disappear into the flow of everyday life, enhance the world around us as we go and render our devices more human in design and interactivity,” Meta states on the project page. Having now acquired Luxacel, that’s the broad direction Meta is heading in.

The long-term goal for Meta is to move away from the bulky headsets typical in 2022 to a more seamless solution. 3DPrint.com notes that with the acquisition, Meta could now develop prescription AR or VR sets that can be lighter, sleeker and wouldn’t require additional glasses.

Coming into its acquisition, Luxacel had raised $22.8 million, according to Crunchbase. Investors in the company include Munich Venture Partners, Innovation Industries, SET Ventures, KLA Tencor and PMV.

Image: Luxacel

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