PAX East 2010 - GUNNAR Optiks

Posted by: Ben Berry at 3/29/2010 9:09 PM
I first met Mark McNabb VP of Marketing for GUNNAR Optiks at CES 2010. I was excited to see them on the list of vendors for PAX East. Mr. McNabb was kind enough to provide me with a pair of the MLG Legend model glasses at CES and I’ve been playing with and without them to test the concept since then. He was also kind enough to take the time to meet with me again at PAX.
If you haven’t heard of GUNNAR, they make lines of indoor and outdoor eyewear. Their focus on gaming of course relates to the indoor eyewear and how it can improve the gaming experience through a better environment for your eyes. They accomplish this through a combination of four features; lens geometry, lens material, lens coating, and lens tint.
The geometry is the most obvious one. Unlike regular glasses which are shaped relatively flat to the eye, the GUNNAR lenses are shaped with idea of creating a “microclimate” which traps in moisture and reduces ambient air currents from hitting the eye. Both of these serve the purpose of reducing dry eye that can be caused by playing games intense action games where the player blinks far less often than normal. This is the benefit I’ve noticed most; at the end of a gaming session wearing these lenses, my eyes definitely feel less dry than they do when I don’t wear them.
The lens material I’d never have noticed much if it wasn’t marketed so heavily. diAMIX is the trade name for the material GUNNAR makes it’s lenses from. The marketing points are that they’re light and impact resistant. From my experience they’re quite light, but I can’t speak to the impact resistance as I’ve been careful with mine. The biggest news that Mr. McNabb had for me is that the GUNNAR fall line will have lenses manufactured by Carl Zeiss, Inc. Evidently, Zeiss wanted access to the proprietary lens material, and will be producing the lenses and licensing the material for use in other products. This is a big win for GUNNAR, as Zeiss makes some of best glass in the world and adds some umph behind the glasses being sold.
Multiple coatings make up the protective layer of the lenses. There are coatings to prevent moisture, smudging, fingerprints, glare, extraneous light, and scratches. Heck there might even be protection from Kryptonite in their too as the GUNNAR folks seem to have thought of everything. As I’ve treated mine with kid gloves, I can’t say I’ve notice too many of these features but I got them wet and wiped them off just to test the anti-watermark coating (it worked)..
Finally, there’s the tint. The tint is a mellow yellow but looks brighter when you see someone wearing them. As a glasses wearer, I notice the tint more than anything else as the frame and lenses are far lighter than my own. I’m wearing them as I type this and the tint gives most things a light yellow hue. You don’t notice it when looking at the screen, as the whites are mostly still white.
Mr. McNabb also hinted at some upcoming partnerships that he couldn’t share details of, but based on what I was able to surmise; it will be exciting. I also took a look at one of their upcoming 3D solutions, (the same one I saw at CES) and I'll be interested to see where that goes. I’m also looking forward to doing a full review of the new line that’s coming out this fall.