In the latest physicsworld.com podcast, Josh Silver – a physicist and inventor based in Oxford, UK – introduces his liquid lens enabled adjustable eye-wear. Dubbed Adspecs, the product offers an alternative eye-care model by allowing wearers to tune the power of their spectacles. To do this, users put on the glasses and pump fluid into lens chambers formed between clear, high optical quality plastic films, which changes the curvature of these flexible structures and brings the wearer’s view of the world into focus. To complete the simple setup procedure, the left and right eye adjusters are locked-off leaving the spectacles fixed at the correct prescription.
In the interview, Silver talks about the positive impact his invention could have in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa where there are insufficient numbers of optometrists to deliver vision correction through the conventional approach of eye-tests and traditional glasses. He also describes the challenges of taking his ideas from the lab and bringing them to mass market. Silver came up with his first prototypes in 1985 and through the work of The Centre for Vision in the Developing World he hopes to see a billion people having Adspecs-enabled vision correction by the year 2020.
Barriers to success
It’s easy to pinpoint cost and performance as important considerations, but as Silver explains, there were other lessons to be learnt when translating the technology from first prototypes into products with market appeal. “When people meet one another, they tend to look at their eyes,” he commented. “People are very sensitive about what their eyes look like and so you’ve got to get the fashion right as well as the optical function.”
Listen to the interview in full on physicsworld.com
Related links –
Adjustable glasses (Institute of Making)