Tunable Glasses

A Zulu man wearing adaptive glasses. (photo: Michael Lewis for The Guardian)

You ever notice how water in a glass will distort things?  Like this…


…so that things will look closer or bigger than they really are?

Well, a physicist has finally figured out how to use that property of water to make “tunable” eyeglasses.  Starting back in 1985, Josh Silver embarked on a mission to help the world’s poor see better.  He knew that many areas of the world didn’t have access to optometrists or couldn’t afford prescription glasses.  So he invented glasses that let wearers adjust their own “prescription.”

How?  The plastic lenses have clear circular sacs filled with fluid.  The wearer uses a syringe to add or remove fluid.  Adding more fluid increases the power of the lens (in the same way that thicker lenses are stronger in regular glasses).

Can you imagine what this means?  Think of all the things you need good eyesight for.  To be able to see is a tremendous improvement in quality of life.  People can read, thread needles, mend their clothes, make a living, support their families.

So far, about 30,000 pairs have been distributed in 15 countries, but Silver hopes to offer these glasses to a billion of the world’s poorest people by 2020.  Within the next year, he and his team plan to distribute 1 million pairs in India.

See?  Science is cool!  🙂

You can read the article here.


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5 Responses to “Tunable Glasses”

  1. Jenipher Says:

    OMG that IS amazing! I think I’ve turned softer on science now…thanks Kathy!

  2. jessica f Says:

    that is pretty bada**. i cant believe there are glasses out there you can manually adjust yourself!! this would help third world countries so much. what an amazing invention. haha great blog kathy. where do you find these interesting articles?

  3. MarilyneL Says:

    That is so great! I hope there could be more of these genius ideas to help third countries so that they finally can overcome poverty. NICE

  4. Emma-Lu Says:

    Science IIIISSSS very cool!

  5. Chris Says:

    just awesome

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