optical

Water glasses

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“A Zulu man wearing adaptive glasses.” Photograph: Michael Lewis (The Guardian)

This article is too great not to share. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a while and today I feel like I have to post something, but I’m uninspired by almost all of the glasses I’ve seen today (Oh okay, I suppose I like these Aztec inspired PAM x Super sunglasses.), so this article in the Guardian is the kind of news I need to be reminded of.

Josh Silver, an inventor, has come up with a way of making prescription glasses that can be distributed in the third world at very low cost – the current target cost per pair is US$1, although it doesn’t sound like they’ve hit that, yet.

“Silver has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device’s tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.

The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. The principle is so simple, the team has discovered, that with very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription.”

Wow. Everyone in the world deserves to be able to see properly, especially if the solution is as simple as a pair of glasses. I’m trying not to think too much about my selfish quest for multiple interesting pairs!

“Some 30,000 pairs of his spectacles have already been distributed in 15 countries, but to Silver that is very small beer. Within the next year the now-retired professor and his team plan to launch a trial in India which will, they hope, distribute 1 million pairs of glasses.

The target, within a few years, is 100 million pairs annually. With the global need for basic sight-correction, by his own detailed research, estimated at more than half the world’s population, Silver sees no reason to stop at a billion.”


Read the rest of the Guardian article.

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