Inside Oakley’s O Lab- 11.20.07
Freshly back in LA, and slightly scared to wear my Tom Fords… as i told you earlier, i just spent two nights up in Half Moon Bay with the Oakley crew at their golf tournament, where i got to check out the Rolling O Lab. Now, i already showed you the *fun* side of the O Lab, here’s the fascinating rolling research lab in a trailer… it will really bring out the hands on science geek in anyone. I tried to get pics of all the fun bits to share with you… but here’s the cliff notes version before we get into the show and tell: if something blasts you in the face, most glasses will stab you in the eye - Oakley lenses just scratch slightly… if you lay down and drop a nearly 2 pound pointed weight on your glasses, you will have something sharp sticking out of your eye - Oakley lenses just get a dent… if you point lasers through the lenses to emulate your vision, the Oakleys actually meet at a point as they should - the others (and we put our random glasses on) were all over the place meaning your eyes are overcompensating (so THAT’s why some glasses give you headaches quickly)… ok ok there’s more, and it was all rather fascinating to me, so please don’t mind the ranting… see pics below - of inside the lab, and also the GIANT corona bottle that was at the first hole.
Ok first things first ~ i’m just giving you the quick layman’s version of what i recall… for the scientific details drop the folks at Oakley a line. (i.e. for all the different standards and tests they go by for their standard glasses vs the even higher standards for military grade glasses they make vs which sports team helmets/goggles/etc standards there are)
This is the machine that shoots ballbearings at the lenses ~ it’s a pretty crazy case, and as you can imagine all other glasses were shooting glass shrapnel everywhere. Unbelievable was that the standard oakleys barely showed a scratch.
Here is where a nearly 2 pound pointed weight was dropped about 4 feet on the lens… see the holes in the por dummy’s eyes? and broken glass around his head? Thats what happened to the other glasses (and the noise really made me jump a good foot in the air)… see the dent the oakleys got? in that square, the top left is before, the top right is after… and below that is the close up.
Here are the dents from various lenses going through the drop test… (see why i’m now mildly horrified at the idea of wearing glasses and having a pebble bounce out from under a truck and ending up with an eyeful of glass?!?!)
These are the two machines that test the lasers lining up and the clarity/focus.
This is where the lasers shot out from the dummy’s eyes ~ and you can see how they are supposed to meet as one… as for the others, hey were separating and some were higher/lower/all over the place… nike’s even have the opposite problem and make you kind of cross eyed…
Here you can see some of the many competitors glasses that they had to try ~ and it’s not rigged, they’ll put any glasses you have up to the test.
Here is the screen to test the clarity of the lens… i didn’t even try taking pics of it with glasses on it, because between the tints and distortion, you’d probably just tell me i was the worst photographer ever.
This was where they demonstrated the difference between their polaroid lenses and others… Here you can see that for theirs they found that the materials for their lenses and polaroid material are very similar so instead of going for the over layered glueing/sandwiching techniques that others use (see next pic, and you can only imagine how much worse the distortion gets) - but they now have a patented technique to molecularly bond the two into one solid layer through infusion molding.
See? Sandwiching and layering and all that madness.
I know this probably isn’t new news to you, and the pictures may not even do it all justice, but it was fascinating to see all of this and hear the stories… and you know everyone loves a good hands on demonstration with projectiles and optics… and i didn’t even get to the parts about Oakley and Transitions ~ and UV blocking ~ and the shaping of the glasses around the lenses when designing… and well yea… go see the Rolling O Lab yourself! I guess i’m just a sucker for where the design, technology, and functionality all play such large rolls in a product.
The O Lab is ready for rain and shine.
Here’s the interior of the O Lab.
The corona was HUGE at the 1st hole… and it fell over at one point too… everyone swears it was the wind…
Here are the boys of the O Lab ~ currently this is the one and only, but two more rolling O Labs are coming soon! So if you happen to go see these boys in salt lake ~ or at the upcoming UCLA/USC game, go say hi!