Scan. Print. Ship. Shred.
Smith Optics is a world leader in the field of sports eyewear. As a renowned maker of ski goggles, they are always working to solve the biggest challenge in sports apparel: a truly proper fit. To that end, Smith wanted to develop an experience that could capture any person’s unique facial layout and custom create the most perfect fitting goggles imaginable. And by doing so, they made a first-of-its-kind in the ski goggle industry and drove a technology-focused transformation for Smith.
iOS, Swift, AWS Amplify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Amazon S3, Bellus3D, MSFT AppCenter
Custom App Development, Experience Design, Cloud-native Development, Mobile Engineering, Quality Engineering, Prototyping
Surveying the moguls ahead
Fit is the biggest challenge in sports equipment. Without exception. Getting gear and apparel to be not only beautiful and functional, but truly comfortable has always been the ultimate goal. With ski goggles in particular the challenge has to do with faces. Sizes, shapes, and individual features can all dramatically affect a quality fit. This is important because when obstacles—or a killer view—are ahead of you, your vision should be as impeccable as your turns.
Legendary ski goggle manufacturer Smith Optics decided to tackle this monumental challenge and set their sights on creating what they hoped to be the future of the industry. A perfect fitting goggle, free from light leaks and air gaps, with a minimum of obstructive foam, and an unparalleled field of vision for any and all face shapes.
But what Smith had in vision, they lacked in know-how: they knew what they wanted but had no idea if it was even possible. (Or if it could be done before the upcoming ski season. Kind of a big deal for a ski company.)
And that’s a perfect recipe for a collab with Slalom Build. We believe that every company can (and should) be a technology company—but they don’t have to be tech experts to get there. An organization with a world-changing idea like this one doesn’t need an in-house army of development talent, sometimes they just need the right partner to roll up their sleeves and help guide them in the right direction. Someone adept at transformation, at making the impossible, oh so possible.
So together, we climbed into the gondola for the run of our lives.
Leaning into the turns
Like many of our projects, we approached the problem holistically, really digging into the depths of what could be accomplished. We knew that one of the biggest challenges to address was how to capture the facial data required to develop the perfect fitting goggle. Then, how can we make it a simple enough experience that someone could do it, say, while sitting on the couch watching shred videos. And all of that pointed to using a personal device through a custom app. Of course, it was never going to be just a mobile app, but instead an entire end-to-end customer experience befitting the Smith brand. Utilizing our Product Engineering Methodology (PEM), which brings together a multi-faceted, multi-talented team—and that includes the client team as equal partners.
We started early on with an initial app architecture that Smith provided, then created a proof-of-concept prototype to help Smith see how their idea could come to life. From there it was a sprint to build an immersive, customer-first application experience.
For the app, Apple’s latest TrueDepth camera would be utilized to capture the detail needed to create an extremely accurate face scan. Then, working with Smith's awesome 3D partner, Bellus3D, we were able to create a high-fidelity full-head model.
Behind all that magic was a deep partnership with Amazon Web Services and their Amplify offering. AWS Amplify is a set of purpose-built tools and services that helped us spin up and run multiple development environments with ease, meaning simultaneous development, testing, and production throughout the project. Amplify allowed the team to quickly utilize AWS services like Cognito, S3, Lambda, shaving weeks off the process. We also integrated with Salesforce Commerce Cloud for secure authentication and customer validation. Like we said, end-to-end.
From discovery to idea refinement to app architecture to prototyping—all the way through website, manufacturing, and shipping integration—Smith, Slalom Build, and the numerous technology partner teams were in continuous contact. While we focused on the application part, all parties needed to be in sync throughout to ensure the entire thing worked seamlessly. Daily standups, late night text chains, remote sessions, everyone’s passion for the project shone through and resulted in a game-changing goggle fitting and buying experience —delivered before the first flakes fluttered toward the ground.
The perfect app for the perfect fit
How does someone get from tapping the app to hitting the slopes?
Here’s how the magic happens:
First, the customer visits SmithOptics.com where they pick strap and lens colors.
Next, a customer downloads the app (now available in the App Store).
They then use the camera on their iPhone to take a detailed 3D face scan.
Every measurement, each curve and contour that make up a person’s face are then used to create an individual model and custom CAD file, which is sent to Smith’s production facility in Utah.
From there, the frame is 3D printed; the foam, lenses, and straps are added; and the whole thing shipped off.
The user’s initials are even etched into the frame for easy identification and ultimate personalization.
In short: tap, scan, print, ship, shred. All in under two weeks.
Introducing the Smith I/O Mag Imprint 3D. the most perfectly individual, absolutely customized ski goggles ever.
The next run
And since initial app delivery, our partnership has continued to evolve. We’re making continuous fidelity and experience refinements to respond to ever-changing customer needs, and the technologies available to meet them.
We are super proud to have partnered with Smith and the other technology teams on this truly transformative moment for Smith, a real testament to our shared belief in the power of technology to breathe life into an inspiring vision.
Update: We’re proud to announce that the Smith I/O Mag Imprint 3D Goggles have been named a Time Magazine Best Invention of 2022! Check it out!