Gents techbedrijf elektrificeert brilglazen om met één druk op de knop ver weg én dichtbij te zien

Ghent tech company electrifies spectacle lenses to see far and near at the touch of a button

Morrow founders Jelle De Smet and Paul Marchal

Forget the multifocal glasses to correct your farsightedness and your nearsightedness. The Ghent-based tech company Morrow has introduced the autofocal glasses: with one push of a button you can switch between looking far and seeing close up. “It feels like we’re rejuvenating your vision by ten years,” says co-founder Paul Marchal.

  • How? Paul Marchal, Jelle De Smet and Kurt Leuridan (investor)
  • Since? 2015
  • Employees? 29

Even before Morrow saw the light of day, co-founder Jelle De Smet made the news with a contact lens that literally puts dollar signs in your eyes. “At first sight a totally useless invention”, laughs the other co-founder Paul Marchal. “But behind that dollar sign gimmick was liquid crystal LCD technology. We use that technology to help people see better.”

An electro boost for your glasses

“Many people are farsighted and nearsighted,” explains Marchal. “They then wear multifocal glasses that consist of two parts: the upper part serves to see far away, the lower part to see near. So you can drive a car as well as read a book with those one pair of glasses. In theory anyway, because those multifocal glasses cause distortions. When you go down the stairs, it looks like your image is swimming.”

“Studies also show that people with progressive lenses run twice the risk of falling. As you get older, the difference between far and near also increases and the distortions only increase further. The result is that people only buy two glasses and have to switch all the time.”

“We solve that problem with autofocal glasses. Between the two lenses is a kind of liquid crystal foil, which you also find in television sets. With one push of the button at the bottom of the glasses you give an electroboost that changes the orientation of the liquid crystal and the refraction of the light. This way, you can switch between close-up and far-away viewing in half a second. With much less deformation and therefore much more comfort.”

Isn’t it tiring for users to always have to ‘activate’ their glasses? That is not too bad, emphasizes Marchal. “90 percent of the time the glasses are simply ‘off’. It’s only when you need to see near or far that you push the button. About ten to fifteen times a day, I estimate.”

Expand distribution network

Morrow makes his glasses himself and sells them through a network of opticians. “Expanding that network is our most important assignment for 2023,” says Marchal. “Both within Belgium and in other European countries. We want to evolve to 200 distribution points this year and are also fully preparing a new capital round to accelerate our international growth.”

Every week we present – in random order – a company from the list of 30 most innovative tech start-ups and scale-ups that Omar Mohout put together especially for Bloovi and which we Flanders Tech 30 baptized. These companies have already been discussed:

  1. D-CRBN
  2. Foodpairing
  3. SoundTalks
  4. Goodless
  5. Swimtraxx / Capetech
  6. Solergy
  7. IVEX
  8. IPEE
  10. Slimbox
  11. QelviQ
  12. CoMoveIT
  13. Moonbird
  14. Arani
  15. CADSkills
  16. Alberts
  17. Westray
  18. Urban Crop Solutions
  19. Tractonomy
  20. Bloomlife
  21. On-Hertz
  22. Magics Technologies
  23. dotOcean
  24. Morrow

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