$1 Liquid lens glasses could help millions

[image credit: Michael Lewis, The Guardian]

Among the major goals of the world are decreasing hunger, stopping preventable yet widespread disease, and promoting education and literacy in third-world countries. That last one may get addressed soon, as a major issue among the extremely poor throughout the world is a lack of eyeglasses, and one inventor believes that with these cheap, adjustable liquid-lens spectacles, he may have sorted things out.

Josh Silver is a Physics professor at Oxford, and for years he’s been working on this solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems. His solution echoes advances in other fields — liquid lenses are being explored for other applications as well — but his ambition is greater: he wants to give out a billion pairs of these things by 2020 (get it, 20/20). The glasses have a thin membrane-enclosed bag, the thickness (and thus optical qualities) of which can be adjusted easily with little screws on the sides. They’re cheap, effective, and easy to use. A bit nerdy-looking, but that’s neither here nor there.

It’s nice to report on technology advances that are really designed to help people, not just to entertain us or fill a need we didn’t know we had. Let’s hope Silver’s million-pair trial in India goes well and then it’s on to world hunger!