Mad Science

Good Invention for the poor and not seeing so well

Silver's oil filled Self-refraction glasses

A pair of glasses developed by Joshua Silver, a physics professor at the University of Oxford, offers an affordable solution in the developing countries where millions of people struggle to operate machinery, read from a blackboard, or just see the world around them. There is a chronic shortage of optometrists — in Ghana, for example, there is just one for every eight million people. That makes it incredibly difficult for ordinary people to visit an optometrist to get glasses. But Silver’s oil filled Self-refraction glasses let the wearer adjust the lenses to suit their vision, without the need for an optometrist. They consist of clear membranes filled with silicon oil, protected by plastic discs. The wearer can adjust the amount of oil in the lenses using a dial fitted to a syringe on the arms of the glasses. Changing the amount of oil in the lenses changes their curvature, which alters their strength. When someone has adjusted the lenses to suit their vision, the lenses are sealed with a valve and the syringes removed, giving near-instant glasses with no need for an optometrist.
          So far, 30,000 pairs of self-refraction glasses have been distributed around the world, through an adult literacy program in Ghana and the U.S. Military Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) Program. Silver estimates that one billion people in the developing world don't have access to the glasses they need. He said, "No one person or company can possibly deliver that many glasses by 2020. There’s a big infrastructure that needs to be set up to do that, and I'd like to see it happen." Currently, it cost $19 to manufacture a pair of self-refraction glasses and Silver acknowledges that the price needs to come down to a few dollars a pair to make them affordable. Another issue is style. The glasses are currently functional, rather than fashionable, and that may limit their uptake, but more cosmetic versions are being developed. I don’t think fashion is very important when function is the key ingredient. Funny how I thought up this invention decades ago and it took this long before someone did something about it. Good going Joshua Silver, I just hope you didn't steal the invention from a student, like the story I'll be covering about how a collage professor and administrator who stole the laser invention from a student and it took thirty years before the student got any restitution. To me, they stole 30 years of his life.

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I happen to think this is an excellent invention

I happened to think about these many years ago, but Joshua Silver acted on it; which is called reduction to practice.




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