Silver has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device’s tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.
The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. The principle is so simple, the team has discovered, that with very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription. (The Guardian)
What’s most interesting to me is how well Professor Silver actually went out and understood a problem. Most of us see no need for adjusting our own glasses. But in the developing world, there aren’t nearly as many opticians. Getting a prescription can be impossible. The essence of great product management is to understand a real problem people face, and give them a complete solution in which they’re willing to invest their time and money.
Silver didn’t just solve the academic problem of “could it be done,” he also set up a company, “Adaptive Eyecare Ltd.”