Made in Dayton: NEO LUX sheds a little light

Dayton entrepreneur tinkers with jackets, glasses in new ways

A conversation with Sheldon Williamson can be illuminating.

Williamson, 25, is president of NEO LUX, a Dayton business that likes to shed light on its customers. With a small band of locally based independent contractors, the company makes electric illuminated jackets and, most recently, battery-powered illuminated glasses.

A few minutes with Williamson, and you’ll immediately see that he’s a restless tinkerer who can go from the proper way to solder parts to Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” in five seconds flat.

With help from a few Dayton friends, the West Milton native recently unveiled electric glowing glasses perfect for the club scene or anyone who wants to stand out in a crowd. But Williamson says he has more up his sleeve.

The newest product — dubbed “Sentio” glasses — run $35 to $50. They’re as different as Williamson, a non-college graduate who says he loves to tinker and invent.

“There are just so many things I’d love to tell you about,” Williamson said in a recent visit to his Clover Street apartment.

The biggest market for Sentio may be what he calls the “EDM (Electronic Dance Music) dance scene.” Put on a pair of these, and the idea is you will “pop” out in the crowd, he said.

Meanwhile, the company’s more expensive electric “Linteum Lux” jackets ($65 to $85) may be better suited to the senior who wants to be visible while walking at night, for example.

“The glasses we’ve just done are for people who want that extra bit of attention while going out at night, when they’re out clubbing,” Williamson said.

Behind the fun are what Williamson says is some painstaking technology and old-fashioned hard work. He points to the Sentio glasses’ solder joints and connectors, or the bending radius of the frames, saying they can smoothly accommodate new lenses. A battery pack on a back headband takes two “AA” batteries. (Williamson recommends using rechargeable batteries.)

“We’re the only company in the world that does this,” he said.

Products can be seen and ordered at neoluxllc.com.

The products could be hot sellers nationwide, but production is an issue, Williamson said. Since the Sentio glasses were unveiled in December, NEO LUX has produced about 500 pairs, he said. One shop owner in Tampa, Fla. says he could sell hundreds, he said.

“I recognize it’s a problem, and I intend to fix it,” he said. Those who think they may be good at assembly work are invited to apply at the website above.

The glasses are assembled by several employees acting as independent contractors, Williamson said. Friends in Brookville, Troy and Dayton contribute assembly services after he trains them.

NEO LUX is not Williamson’s full-time gig. He and his girlfriend transport parts across the Midwest for Gopher Express.

“It’s been a boot-strapping thing,” he said.

The former Sinclair Community College student readily acknowledges that he doesn’t want to be a cash-strapped inventor, so he says he has invited cash from investors.

“I’ve got so many inventions, just in this one room,” Williamson said, indicating his apartment’s small work shop. “They could solve a ton of different problems. I’ve thought about just putting them out there and giving them away.”

Then he adds: “I don’t want to be that inventor who dies poor, either.”

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