Good Thinking

Spine Optics redefines the hinges on your glasses

Spine Optics redefines the hin...
Loz models the Spine Optics frames – but are they making HIM look that good, or vice versa? (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
Loz models the Spine Optics frames – but are they making HIM look that good, or vice versa? (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
View 14 Images
Loz models the Spine Optics frames – but are they making HIM look that good, or vice versa? (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
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Loz models the Spine Optics frames – but are they making HIM look that good, or vice versa? (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
Loz models the Spine Optics frames (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
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Loz models the Spine Optics frames (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
Loz models the Spine Optics frames – serious style (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
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Loz models the Spine Optics frames – serious style (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
Loz models the Spine Optics frames, in a state of slight confusion (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
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Loz models the Spine Optics frames, in a state of slight confusion (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
Spine Optics' hinge is designed to mimic the human backbone
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Spine Optics' hinge is designed to mimic the human backbone
Spine Optics' self closing hinge
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Spine Optics' self closing hinge
Spine Optics' self closing hinge
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Spine Optics' self closing hinge
Spine Optics offers a range of frame styles
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Spine Optics offers a range of frame styles
Spine Optics offers a range of frame styles
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Spine Optics offers a range of frame styles
Modelled after vertebrae, the hinges don't pivot on a screw and no piece rotates more than 18 degrees
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Modelled after vertebrae, the hinges don't pivot on a screw and no piece rotates more than 18 degrees
If this whole glasses thing doesn't work out for Spine Optics, it definitely has a future in 3D animation
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If this whole glasses thing doesn't work out for Spine Optics, it definitely has a future in 3D animation
Spine Optics offers a range of frame styles
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Spine Optics offers a range of frame styles
Spine Optics' flexible hinges fit and hold to different head sizes
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Spine Optics' flexible hinges fit and hold to different head sizes
If this whole glasses thing doesn't work out for Spine Optics, it definitely has a future in 3D animation
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If this whole glasses thing doesn't work out for Spine Optics, it definitely has a future in 3D animation
View gallery - 14 images

I wouldn't normally pay too much attention to such a seemingly minor thing as eyeglass hinges, but Spine Optic's extraordinary 3D video animation caught my imagination. The company's range of frames feature a nifty self-closing hinge inspired by the human backbone that holds the glasses firmly in place on your face and offers extra flexibility to fit different sized heads.

Before anything else, I want you to take a look at this video. At 43 seconds, you'll see an absolutely extraordinary video animation.

Spine Video

That is a thoroughly stunning presentation, a masterpiece of 3-D animation. Look at the way the screws go in and out, the way the cable wraps around. It's hypnotic. And it's all about eyeglass hinges.

Spine Optics is founded on the premise that the humble hinge can be done better. Certainly, I've lost more pairs of sunnies to hinge failure than anything else, although for the most part it's been hinge failure brought on by sitting on the damn things.

Modelled after vertebrae, the hinges don't pivot on a screw and no piece rotates more than 18 degrees
Modelled after vertebrae, the hinges don't pivot on a screw and no piece rotates more than 18 degrees

Spine's system is modelled after the human… well, spine, in that it uses a series of "vertebrae" such that nothing pivots on a screw, and none of the pieces need to rotate more than 18 degrees. The whole shebang is held together by a wire cable that's held under tension by a pair of springs that close the glasses up when they're not being held open.

The advantages are supposed to be reduced wear and tear, additional flexibility in the hinge, and a gentle "clamping" effect that sticks the glasses to your head better without giving you a headache in the process. This clamping effect is also claimed to make a single frame wearable by people with different sized heads.

Spine Optics' flexible hinges fit and hold to different head sizes
Spine Optics' flexible hinges fit and hold to different head sizes

It's too soon for me to comment on durability just yet, but the hinge sure is flexible – in two directions, too, as the arms can tilt up and down as well as in and out. And the clamping motion certainly seems effective. I can shake my head about a fair bit without dislodging the Spine glasses, and I rarely need to push them back up on my nose.

I don't find the spring-loaded clamping action uncomfortable on my temples at all. I'm not sure if it'd be more of an issue on a bigger noggin, but they feel great to me for a couple of hours at a stretch, which is the most I'd generally wear sunnies for.

If this whole glasses thing doesn't work out for Spine Optics, it definitely has a future in 3D animation
If this whole glasses thing doesn't work out for Spine Optics, it definitely has a future in 3D animation

The self-closing action can be a bit annoying in other situations though. It means you can't put the Spine glasses on one-handed, and you've got to find some way to hold them open when you want to clean them.

Functionality aside, the ones they sent us look good to me, they feel good, the hinge mechanism is fun to play with and the lenses are high quality. Spine frames are available at optical retailers for around US$150 and up, so the prices are reasonable.

If you don't mind sacrificing one-handed operation for a snug and grippy fit, they might be worth considering for your next pair.

Source: Spine Optics

View gallery - 14 images
2 comments
Bob Flint
Complex, overdesigned, more material & components than you need. Plus a wider blind spot, and you need both hands to put on, extra side pressure, and your nose or eyes will get wacked as you take them off.
Maybe for certain intense hit impact potential activities, but not every day long wear.
WilliamFigueroa
Purchased a pair just last month and although they have been better than say my previous pair of glasses, 3 weeks into wearing them and the nose bridge broke right off. There are say 4 major pieces to these frame and one of them broke within the first 30 days of purchase. To me that was unacceptable and in turn not worth it. Great ad, bad product.