Here in the U.S. we take for granted many of the necessities of life. However, across the world billions living in Third World countries and developing nations have trouble obtaining basic needs. Something as simple as finding clean drinking water can be impossible. Basic medical care is scarce. And those with poor vision are forced to endure as glasses are typically far too expensive.
A new invention could fix that last problem and bring vision to as many as a billion worldwide -- the world's first fully tunable prescription-free glasses.
The tunable glasses were invented by retired Oxford University physic professor Joshua Silver. He devised the lenses in a moment he called a "glimpse of the obvious". He sees them hitting the market in about a decade and bringing improved vision to about a billion living in poverty worldwide. With vision a key to literacy, these new lenses could make a world of difference.
The new lenses can be tuned via simple mechanical motions to correct for both near-sighted and far-sighted vision. Professor Silver has been developing them for over two decades now, ever since a 1985 conversation with a colleague hatched the idea in his mind.
Now at last he has a cheap, easily mass-produced design largely worked out. His lenses use liquid lenses which inject or remove liquid to adjust the thickness of the lens. Thicker lenses are more powerful, while thinner lenses are weaker. By adjusting the thickness, typically done by cutting to a prescription, the proper vision correction is achieved. However, the new lenses can be adjusted freely.
The glasses' liquid lenses are encased in tough plastic, which protects the delicate lens sacs. A small dial on each arm pumps a small syringe which adds or removes fluid from the lens sac. These syringe/dial setup can be easily removed after the proper adjustment is achieved, saving on costs.
Britain's Department for International Development has begun a trial deployment of the glasses, and has already distributed thousand of pairs in Third World countries. Professor Silver is determined to ramp up production to millions of units.
Professor Silver is touched and inspired by stories such as that of Henry Adjei-Mensah, a tailor in Ghana who fell into poverty when he was forced to retire at an early age for lack of glasses. He describes, "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."
He is currently readying a program in India which will deploy a million units a year. He wants to eventually release a level of 100 million units a year, with 1 billion distributed by 2020 as his chief goal.
quote: Britain, which once helped to create the Third World through zealous colonialism, has turned over a new leaf
quote: Opinion doesn't belong in straight news...
quote: However, I stand by the fact that Britain, along with Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and others helped to create the Third World. By conquering and subjugating the majority of Africa and South America along with India and much of China, these regions saw their existing political and social systems scrapped and much of their natural resources looted.
quote: As one small example, while most of the rest of the world was still heavily entrenched in slavery, Britain was spending millions of pounds (billions in current currency) to halt the slave trade, preventing Africans from capturing and selling their neighboring tribespeople to foreign traders.
quote: On the contrary, the British Charter Act of 1813 banned abuses like thuggee (religious ritual murder), the act of 1833 give India its first laws banning religious discrimination, the Act of 1843 banned slavery, etc, etc, etc.
quote: How many civil wars has the region fought since independence in 1947? Four?
quote: In short, you couldn't give the British all the credit for a developing India after they subjugated the masses for so long.
quote: You'll find in development economics literature references to India's English heritage, such as education system and english language, that has allowed India to much more easily engage in world trade. Thats considered a big deal;
quote: Oh, and I think as I explained, it still comes down to India's shift to Marxism
quote: It is indisputable that the lives of literally billions of people in the Third World are now far better off today due to that "evil" British colonialism.
quote: t's illuminating to note that nations such as India which retained the majority of British structures continued to prosper, while those which discarded them sank back into the chaos and barbarism in which they were originally found .
quote: looks vaguely similar to me..
quote: but we didn't exactly have a huge rupture from our British history.
quote: Not sure what the War of 1812 has anything to do with
quote: Without a replacement, NASA may be without a manned space capability entirely, for the first time since the 1960s, a gap that NASA says would destroy the U.S.'s primacy in space technology.
quote: How do educated people developed such warped views?