Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
The ThinOptics Manhattan glasses case is an exquisite 4mm, world's thinnest and lightest, case for the minimal Thinoptics' full frame reading glasses. It is beautifully slender and sticks perfectly to the back of the phone. It's reducing the common pain of forgetting reading glasses at home or in the office. People loved the convenience of having it unnoticeably hidden behind the phone. It means our users don't need to find themselves in a restaurant without reading glasses while unused pairs of reading glasses are sitting at home.
ThinOptics observed that people generally don't leave their phone behind at home. So we wanted to create a safe home for reading glasses on the back side of the phone and it looks great standing alone too. Designers and engineers faced many challenges in designing this glasses case with this objective in mind.
First was that the case needed to be both thin and discreet so it doesn't bother our user with a bulky add-ons. It was quite challenging, because of the thickness of the glasses themselves and manufacturability of materials that thin while maintaining enough strength.
Another challenge was building the case so it could fit on the back of various phones and sizes without impeding the camera lens viewing angles. Samsung Galaxy and iPhone 10 were studied and maximum dimensions were determined based on fitting on both specific phones.
Another issue this posed was material selection and avoiding the use of magnets as they would interfere with the phone's signal.
The case also needed to accommodate two types of glasses (circular and rectangular) for business reasons.
Designers and engineers were challenged with all these tasks while creating this functional and portable case with high-end look and feel.
We overcame the thinness hurdle by using extremely thin and light aircraft stainless steel. Because of the thickness of the glasses themselves, there was a very limited selection of materials that could be used, and 0.3mm stainless steel was chosen as it met the strength and thickness requirements. Using this material we were also able to design an internal hinge that could be formed through the stamping process without an impact to the outer design. Using LCP (liquid Crystal Polymer) we designed a plastic assembly, over molded into the stainless steel housing which also created features for a latch that fit within the requirement. Working directly with manufacturers was necessary to identify those which had the capabilities to build this case, and could deliver the final flawless surface finish.
The Manhattan case design was a difficult struggle to fit an enclosure around two different glasses while remaining below the maximum footprint of certain iphone models, while also adding less than 1.5mm to the thickness of the glasses. This was achieved by using formed sheet metal for the majority of the body with an LCP (liquid crystal polymer) overmolding to provide structure and mounting positions for the latch. This manufacturing method is borrowed from PC cards where compact and robust solutions are essential, making it a great match for this product which will see a variety of environments.
ThinOptics glasses are flexible. They are designed to bend without breaking so we enclose them in the smallest possible yet sturdy case. The ultra-flexible titanium alloy bridge is made from Nitinol (10x more elastic than spring steel) and easily twisted into small places without harm.
Sculpting the case to fit within 4mm thickness was a challenge, but in the end, through all the restrictions, we were able to create this iconic form factor and elegant design.
Aging is a normal process everyone will experience. However, chastising yourself for forgetting things is undesirable. This product empowers people by solving the common issue of forgetting reading glasses while on the go. When you think of the frequency of how often this happens, the impact is greater than we had expected. Now, our users can always enjoy their time in restaurant, at the office, in hospitals; everywhere. Reading glasses are always with them. Also, we are happy that our client is growing continually with a title of being an innovated firm by solving this challenge with such an elegant result.