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Last updated: Wed. Dec. 18, 2013 - 12:48 pm EDT

Prescription with an eye on future

Local optical firm in front on lenses for Google Glass

Click on image to view.

A Fort Wayne business clearly sees an opportunity to tap into the next big thing.

Longe Optical has developed a way to retrofit prescription lenses to Google Glass, the latest creation from the search-engine company.

Google Glass is a device worn like a pair of eyeglasses that works as a voice-activated smartphone. Wearers can surf the Internet, take pictures and video, link to their mobile phone and perform other tasks.

Google is testing the product with select consumers willing to pay the $1,500 price. Google Glass is expected to hit retailers some time next year.

But for consumers who require some type of eyewear – that’s 66 percent of adults, according to the National Eye Institute – Longe is out to make Google Glass a good experience. Longe President Jeff Ostermann showed how the glasses would work Tuesday at his West Jefferson Boulevard location.

“As soon as they came out with Google Glass, we knew it would be a perfect fit with our HD lenses,” he said. “They came with an athletic shield that fit into a clip for people on the go. We designed lenses to fit into that clip.”

Ostermann believes his company is the first to develop prescription lenses for Google Glass but said there could be others. Longe has reached out to Google but has not received a response about some type of alliance. That may be understandable considering that the Internet company is still tweaking the gadget. Google did not respond Tuesday to an email seeking comment on the product and Longe’s intentions.

Google Glass is being touted as the next wave of mobile computer technology. Laptops, smartphones and tablets are known by consumers, but a new crop of gizmos promise to make computing all the more handy.

Smartwatches are Dick Tracy-style wrist pieces, offering phone and Internet capability. Google Glass is the next leap forward. Ostermann describes his product as tentative but is confident, as Longe’s website already has a Google Glass tab for visitors to peruse.

Longe Optical is owned by Chuck Surack of Sweetwater Sound Inc. Spokesman Christopher Guerin said the HD lenses could result in the Summit City selling something no one else has.

“It really is an exciting development, especially from a company right here in Fort Wayne,” he said.

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