Where would we be if innovators had not stepped up with the zipper or Velcro? How about liquid soap, shoe laces, TV remote (I don’t know what I would do without this one), or the ultimate symbol for that moment in time when they came up with their ideas, the light bulb. Thomas Edison in 1879 shed light on us all and we still use his invention to symbolize great ideas. I’m sure that there are great stories associated with each of their innovations listed above, but this short highlights where in this case a real sense of frustration, lead way to the design of CVs.
My wife and I were on vacation staying at a friend’s lake house in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. It was a dark and stormy night and we had just finished dinner. I grabbed my iPad and started looking around for my reading glasses. They were no wear to be found. If we were at home, I would have had strategically placed reading glasses throughout the house. However, even at home it normally follows suit that the second I need my reading glasses, they are not where I am. That strategic placed pair were moved from the last time I needed them and someone didn’t put them back… that would be me.
After a thorough scour of the immediate area, Andrea, my wife, chimes in with “you probably left them in the car”. So out to the car in the rain and through the muddy driveway I went. Low and behold there they were. Innocently they looked back at me from the center console as though they had nothing to do with being left in the car. I knew better. It was clearly someone’s fault, and it wasn’t mine. I was mad as blazes. So, wet and shoes covered in mud, I vowed to Andrea that I would re-invent glasses. Her snide comment was reflective of me not being able to re-invent an air guitar or out of a paper bag or something similar.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH GLASSES?
Glasses themselves perform quite well. For those of us who need reading glasses (normally the over 40 crowd), they are the difference between seeing the computer screen, the label, the menu, or a text message and not seeing anything. So the issue is not with the functionality of the glasses, it all about the convenience of them. They need to be where I am when I don’t need them, so they’ll be there when I do need them… I think you get the picture. The first part of the problem is that traditional glasses don’t collapse to the “perfect” size. There are glasses out there that have numerous folding mechanisms to open and close them. These types of glasses tend to be flimsy and are lost or misplaced just as easily as regular glasses. Folding is not the answer.
The solution would have to include the glasses collapsing to a compact size with very little effort; AND a way to carry them so they would be handy all of the time. The biggest obstacles to folding glasses are the long arms that sit on your ears. Without adding a hinge in the middle of the long arm, how do you collapse the frame? Even if you could design the glasses to somehow fold with very little effort, how do you keep them nearby? The second I put my glasses down and walk away, I’ve lost that convenience battle. A chain around the neck was not the answer either.
Armed with these details and a sense of frustration for having to walk out to the car just so I could see my iPad screen, not to mention the fact that I was feeling challenged by my wife for not being very “Edison” like, I went to bed. In the middle of the night, it came to me! I was so excited about the idea, it woke me from my slumber. I jumped out of bed and made my way to the kitchen table where I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil. I jotted a rough draft of my idea and a few notes and then feeling a little “peacocky” I went back to bed with a smile from ear to ear.
The next morning I worked on my drawings a little more and then showed them to Andrea. As you can tell from the night before, Andrea has no hesitation in telling the emperor he has no clothes (not that I’m comparing myself to an emperor). Much to my surprise, she actually liked the idea and thought I might be on to something. Motivated by her encouragement, I continued to refine the design on paper until it was time to make the decision to try and prove my design theories.
My design was based on the fallacy that glasses must have those long arms that sit on your ears. After wearing glasses for hours at a time, those arms are uncomfortable. It is also the length of the arms that prevent glasses from collapsing (not folding) into the perfect size. Why not shorten the length of the arms? We could design them to rest on the temples. In order to have them both collapse and have just enough pressure to rest on your temples comfortably, we would need a special material that would have spring like properties. This material would also need a memory so when not in use the sides spring back automatically. We found the best material (it’s a trade secret… sorry) and designed the TempleRests™ at the optimal angle. This would place just enough pressure for the sides to rest comfortably on the temples. Now we have comfortable glasses that collapse to the perfect size. One down, one to go.
With that solved what to do about the “convenience conundrum”? Now that they’re the right size, how do you carry them without a chain around the neck (not very stylish)? If you don’t somehow attach them to you, you are left with the same old problem the second you put them down and walk away. A retractable reel was the answer. If we attach the side of the glasses to the reel, and clip the reel to you, the glasses are always with you. You can simply clip the reel to your shirt pocket, collar, ID lanyard while at work, or the inside pocket of your jacket. This way you can’t walk away from your glasses. (I consider the standard reel to be a little on the big side, so we have vowed to redesign the reel into a much smaller size with a microfiber line.)
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
The last step in the innovation makeover of glasses was to rename them. Introducing CVs! With prototyping behind us and crowdfunding underway, this revolution for Changing Eyewear™ is just getting started. We have started with Reader CVs™, but are really excited to be working on Sun CVs™ that do not have a prescription and are for everybody. Sun CVs should be out before Christmas. Our goal is to also have Prescription CVs™ available sometime early in 2014.
Well there you have it. A short walk through a muddy driveway and I conceived CVs one night while sleeping. With a little fortitude and great support, I have taken the idea from being written on the back of a napkin to a viable product. You will never wonder where you left your glasses with CVs clipped to your shirt.
Onward and upward!