Shimizu: My task was to build on Ryota's work while focusing on styling and fit, with mass production in mind. In eyeglass design, sketches alone often don't tell us how glasses will fit, so we created rough mock-ups through rapid prototyping to explore a range of ideas and distill the desired shape and fit.
I pursued two styling goals: making a great first impression and ensuring that the glasses complement faces of all kinds. The best frames would look as appealingly simple as Sony TVs themselves, I imagined. By choosing a shape unlike most eyeglass frames (which are composed of very sophisticated curves), I thought we could create a fresh appearance while ensuring that the glasses look good on nearly everyone, regardless of brow contours. Yet no matter how many models we created, they didn't look natural on. Even the most promising models looked almost comical when worn.
For glasses that look natural on the face, it's good to add curves, but overdoing it makes glasses look very plain and boring. Excessive curves also look unbalanced with some facial features or brow contours, and the glasses no longer look attractive on everyone. We therefore sought minimal curvature, retaining some elements of classic eyeglass design in frames as simple as possible.
Meanwhile, we were also studying the fit. People's faces come in all shapes and sizes, but if you could adjust the temples and nose pads yourself, it would improve fit and prevent fatigue significantly. So, we discussed adding a bendable core in the temples with our engineers. This way, the temples can be molded to fit the wearer's face or head, improving the fit. At the hinges, we also incorporated a locking mechanism to limit how wide the temples open. The temples can be easily and precisely adjusted to suit even narrow faces, which significantly reduces stress by preventing the glasses from slipping forward.
There's also a little design finesse in the nose pads. I was concerned that when the 3D glasses are worn over prescription glasses, the nose pads of each pair would interfere with each other, preventing adequate support. For this reason, we also added a bendable core to the nose pads of the TDG-BR100. Adjusting the pads on the 3D glasses (spreading them apart or pinching them together, as needed) makes the glasses more comfortable when worn over others. Besides this, we carefully considered the overall size of the glasses, so that the weight when the glasses are worn over others is distributed evenly instead of being focused at one point.
Sato: After Naoto's design refinements, we had 3D glasses that were flexible, from the standpoint of how the glasses rest on your face, which ensures an excellent fit. Still, we didn't suppose this would be enough for everyone. As any optician knows, no single pair of glasses can suit everyone. Head structure varies by race, and there are differences between men and women. When children's glasses are also considered, the more sizes, the better.
What made our work more difficult was the lack of objective standards of evaluation. This was very disconcerting for our design team. We decided to conduct some research of our own, with help from other departments at Sony.
I participated throughout this process, from planning the research methodology to analyzing the measurement data. In essence, glasses are supported by three points of contact, on both ears and your nose. The critical factor here is the distance between the ears and nose. We knew that the correlation between this measurement data and our respondents' rating of fit would yield a compelling basis for evaluation.
To conduct this exploratory research, Naoto flew to the racially diverse city of London, bringing an improvised instrument to measure head size that resembled vernier calipers. Our findings revealed that unless specific conditions were met, children's faces were too small to support the glasses we had designed, and in rare cases, the glasses would not fit on some adults, either.
We want families who buy a 3D TV to be able to wear the glasses to enjoy it, and this includes their children. Glasses that fit children are even more important because Sony promotes 3D entertainment through PlayStation. After meeting with our top decision-makers, we immediately began planning a line of smaller 3D glasses.