EssilorLuxottica and Politecnico di Milano launch a partnership for the smart glasses of the future

  • EssilorLuxottica and Politecnico di Milano signed an agreement for the first joint Smart Eyewear Lab, within the city’s soon to be Parco dei Gasometri
  • The lab will host R&D activities for the next generation of connected glasses, combining digital technologies with bioengineering, physics of matter and AI skills
  • The partnership provides initial investments of over 50 million Euro and will employ more than 100 researchers

Milano (July 19, 2022) – EssilorLuxottica and Politecnico di Milano have created the first ever joint research center aimed at designing the smart glasses of the future, EssilorLuxottica Smart Eyewear Lab.

The agreement was announced today by Vittorio Colao, Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition; Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan; Fabrizio Sala, Lombardy’s regional Minister for Research, Innovation, University, Export and Simplification, and Internationalization; Ferruccio Resta, Rector of Politecnico di Milano, and Francesco Milleri, Chairman and CEO of EssilorLuxottica. It involves an investment worth over 50 million Euro.

The project will encompass industrial research and experimental development of devices underlying a new generation of wearables which are capable of autonomous network connection. It is a pioneering and tangible project that will enable the development of technologies and services by means of a widely used interface such as eyewear.

The EssilorLuxottica Smart Eyewear Lab will initially last five years and will employ when fully operational over 100 among researchers and scientists working closely together in a dedicated space
within the Innovation District, which the Politecnico di Milano is currently developing in the Parco dei Gasometri, located in the Bovisa area in Milan. The University thus aims to bridge the gap between universities and businesses, developing a highly international research environment that fosters synergies and transversality.

The project’s main challenge will be the development of core hardware, software and application technologies to enable humans to interact with the digital world. To do so, the EssilorLuxottica Smart Eyewear Lab’s industrial research and experimental development will be divided into five macro-objectives: analysis and development of electronic and photonic components, as well as algorithms to acquire, process and offer real-world information via augmented reality to the user. Their development will integrate the technology within various prototype glasses, as foreseen in the last two objectives, by developing materials, charging systems and algorithms to certify their performance in real environments.

The EssilorLuxottica Smart Eyewear Lab in Milan will work as part of the Group’s R&D platform, already operating globally, with more than 30 R&D centers dedicated to vision care, eyewear design, sustainability and digital transformation, around 1,000 researchers and more than 11,000 patents.

EssilorLuxottica and the Politecnico di Milano also aim to jointly create an ad hoc curriculum fostering the development of increasingly specific skills in the wearable and smart eyewear field and virtuously feeding the new Lab’s research activities. The goal is to attract young talents, PhDs, researchers and teaching staff to put their effort into this innovative project, to train new resources who can meet the demands of the current and future labor market.

“The agreement with EssilorLuxottica represents a milestone in the development of the ‘Goccia di Bovisa’ area, for several reasons,” explains the Rector of Politecnico di Milano, Ferruccio Resta.
“Certainly, the first one is that the University now works alongside an internationally recognized example of excellence, an Italian group that is synonymous with innovation – a great catalyst for other entrepreneurial and research endeavors within the innovation district taking shape in the Gasometri area. The second reason relates to the realm in which we will operate: the metaverse, of which we can only guess the possibilities today, is a complex area of study and experimentation, involving technological fields developed within the University: from electronics, to photonics, to data science. It opens up unprecedented perspectives that are not limited to technological innovation or the development of new products, but reshape entire processes, services and relationships. It is precisely on this basis that the Joint Research Center will operate over the next five years.“

“Innovation is at the heart of EssilorLuxottica’s business model,” Francesco Milleri, Chairman and CEO of EssilorLuxottica, added. “The lines between physical and virtual worlds are becoming increasingly blurred, outlining completely unprecedented horizons and offering a unique challenge that will propel us into the future. These new models are keys for unlocking an enormous potential of development for the job market and the entire economic system.”

Marco Catalani
Head of Corporate Communications

Mascia Sgarlata
Head of Media Relations

About EssilorLuxottica

EssilorLuxottica is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of ophthalmic lenses, frames and sunglasses. Formed in 2018, its mission is to help people around the world to see more and be more by addressing their evolving vision needs and personal style aspirations. The Company brings together the complementary expertise of two industry pioneers, one in advanced
lens technology and the other in the craftsmanship of iconic eyewear, to set new industry standards for vision care and the consumer experience around it. Influential eyewear brands including Ray-Ban and Oakley, lens technology brands including Varilux and Transitions, and world-class retail brands including Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, Salmoiraghi & Viganò and GrandVision are part of the EssilorLuxottica family. EssilorLuxottica has approximately 180,000 employees. In 2021, the Company generated consolidated pro forma revenue of Euro 21.5 billion. The EssilorLuxottica share trades on the Euronext Paris market and is included in the Euro Stoxx 50 and CAC 40 indices.
Codes and symbols: ISIN: FR0000121667; Reuters: ESLX.PA; Bloomberg: EL:FP. For more information, please visit

About Politecnico di Milano

The Politecnico di Milano is one of the best scientific-technological universities in the world. In the Qs World University Rankings 2022 Politecnico di Milano confirms its position in the world’s top 150, ranking 139th in the world and first in Italy. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 Politecnico di Milano is among the top universities in the world in all three specific areas: 13rd in Engineering, 10th in Architecture and 5th in Design. Founded in 1863, Polimi is the largest school of Architecture, Design and Engineering in Italy, with three main campuses located in Milan, and campuses based in Lecco, Cremona, Mantua and Piacenza, and one in China, in Shanghai. The Politecnico di Milano is organized into 12 departments, responsible for planning of the research strategies, and 4 schools, responsible for the organization of education. Thanks to a strong internationalization policy, several study programmes are taught entirely in English, attracting an ever-increasing number of talented international students from more than 100 countries: in the academic year 2020/2021, 28% of the students enrolled in Master of Science Programmes were international. Research is carried out in more than 250 laboratories and big infrastructures. Strategic research mainly concerns the space, digital, H.P.C. & Quantum, fintech, society, life sciences,
agritech, green deal and mobility sectors.