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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Dec 31 01:24 AM

Dec 31, 2008: Adapti-Glasses

This is big... or should I say this could be big... very big.
Here is a picture of a Zulu tribesman wearing glasses.
Ho hum, so what?
He was his own optician.

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.
Excellent idea, although they would have to be made tough because a leak would ruin them. Mr Zulu could duct tape the bridge but a cracked lens would kill them. Now the trick is to make them cheaply enough and get them to the people that need them.
Of course there is still a lot of eye problems, like astigmatism, that these glasses won't help, but for all the people that just need magnification, whoopee.

The implications of bringing glasses within the reach of poor communities are enormous, says the scientist. Literacy rates improve hugely, fishermen are able to mend their nets, women to weave clothing. During an early field trial, funded by the British government, in Ghana, Silver met a man called Henry Adjei-Mensah, whose sight had deteriorated with age, as all human sight does, and who had been forced to retire as a tailor because he could no longer see to thread the needle of his sewing machine. "So he retires. He was about 35. He could have worked for at least another 20 years. We put these specs on him, and he smiled, and threaded his needle, and sped up with this sewing machine. He can work now. He can see."
Mr Silver is an ambitious man. He wants to distribute a billion pair of these glasses. I hope he can find enough help to pull it off.

The Cellar wishes you a Happy New Year... right people?..... Yeah.....Right.....Yes..... For sure.....Oh yes..... Happy new year everybody

TheMercenary  Wednesday Dec 31 04:57 AM

Interesting idea. The lack of limit of invention in the human mind never ceases to amaze me.

Clodfobble  Wednesday Dec 31 09:31 AM

I had a pair of glasses back in the 80s that looked like that, except they were bright blue. Man, I was stylin'.

Flint  Wednesday Dec 31 10:46 AM

The best inventions yet to be discovered are very low-tech. Simple exploitation of basic principles.

Shawnee123  Wednesday Dec 31 10:48 AM

Necessity as mother of invention...yep.

Flint  Wednesday Dec 31 10:51 AM

I'm a sucker for using the least-complex tool available, and bending them to my will to perform a task. My wife says I like to re-invent the wheel. The truth is, I do things however makes the most sense to my nutjob brain. In fact, I have a very narrow range of functionality.

Sundae  Wednesday Dec 31 10:59 AM

Great and hopeful IoTD to round off the year, thanks Bruce.
I've always given my old glasses to charities that redistribute them, but this is a far better plan.

Although I've always wondered if some short-sighted African woman loves her rose-tinted glasses as much as I did. La vie en rose indeed.

Sheldonrs  Wednesday Dec 31 11:01 AM

This is nothing new. It used to be called beer goggling.

Shawnee123  Wednesday Dec 31 11:42 AM

I need some of those, Shel.

Gravdigr  Wednesday Dec 31 02:35 PM

I am so thankful for vision. I have gone so far as planning to go blind for a week, for the experience, and to better appreciate my near-perfect vision, but I've never gone through with it. I wonder if my eyes would be damaged or given a well-deserved rest?

hipshot  Wednesday Dec 31 02:39 PM

I agree with Sundae Girl: Great and Hopeful is what we need for 2009. And, let me add my appreciation for Bruce, who has been incredibly faithful in making IOTD a great place to visit. I don't post much, but I view everyday and am grateful for the inquisitive, thoughtful and slightly demented folks who make up this part of the Cellar.

Happy New Year, Everybody! God Bless Us All!

richlevy  Wednesday Dec 31 02:54 PM

Originally Posted by Shawnee123 View Post
Necessity as mother of invention...yep.
I thought that was Frank Zappa.

Shawnee123  Wednesday Dec 31 03:00 PM

I thought he was a man. But he was a muffin.

aero geek  Wednesday Dec 31 08:06 PM

Thanks Bruce...

...for another year of amazing images. All the best to you & everyone else on (in?) The Cellar.

DanaC  Wednesday Dec 31 09:06 PM

What a stunning idea!

Leokins  Thursday Jan 1 11:26 PM

I think this presents a great opportunity for the poor across the world if Silver succeeds. I know I've always sympathized with those who might not have access to prescription lenses, almost everyone in my family has suffered from the same pitifully weak eyesight thanks to genetics. If we were born in Africa without access to glasses growing up we probably would've been eaten by lions, or from walking off cliffs or something.

capnhowdy  Tuesday Jan 6 07:47 AM

All they need is the "opti-grab" attatchment.

DanaC  Tuesday Jan 6 08:01 AM

hahahahahahaha. Classic.

classicman  Tuesday Jan 6 11:16 PM


capnhowdy  Wednesday Jan 7 07:02 AM

Originally Posted by classicman View Post
Ever saw "The Jerk" starring Steve Martin?

classicman  Wednesday Jan 7 12:07 PM

I got yer reference I was referring to Dana's post - context lost in type - nevermind

DanaC  Wednesday Jan 7 01:34 PM

Awww *grins* I got it Classic:P

Shawnee123  Wednesday Jan 7 01:40 PM

fwiw...I got it too. I found the whole exchange hilarious. First, classic saying "what?" then capnhowdy explaining it even though it wasn't needed.

It was a bit like Who's On First.

Gravdigr  Monday Feb 2 11:31 AM

Originally Posted by Shawnee123 View Post
fwiw...I got it too. I found the whole exchange hilarious. First, classic saying "what?" then capnhowdy explaining it even though it wasn't needed.

It was a bit like Who's On First.

classicman  Monday Feb 2 07:43 PM


dar512  Monday Feb 2 08:40 PM

I dunno!

barefoot serpent  Tuesday Feb 3 12:40 PM

An interview on NPR

xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Feb 3 10:38 PM

With whom?

classicman  Tuesday Feb 3 11:13 PM

about what?

Gravdigr  Tuesday Sep 22 04:26 PM

Third base!

lookout123  Tuesday Sep 22 04:42 PM

Took you awhile to think that one up, did it?

ZenGum  Tuesday Sep 22 11:49 PM

He was just building tension. It's all in the timing.

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