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Cheap Fast Eyeglasses from a Desktop Fabricator

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the blind-as-a-bat dept.

Technology 279

purduephotog writes "Doctoral candidate Saul Griffith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and inventor of the Lego powered chocolate printer was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for inventing a device that molds eyeglasses rapidly and cheaply. Best of all, he's motivated for the good of humanity."

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Making a difference (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339116)

Griffith's thesis research is actually on "programmable self-assembly, how to make things automatically make things," he said.

This is the really interesting scientific angle of his work, and based on this, I would say that this small $30k prize is only the beginning for this guy. This approach demonstrates a unique perspective to problem solving that shows how innovative folks like Saul are. But perhaps more importantly for the future of science, science education, and the overall good, he has a social conscience that allowed him to identify a problem that affects people worldwide and has found an innovative solution that does what we all should aspire to do: Make a difference.

And he also makes the rest of us scientists look good. :-)

Good on you Saul.

BUT WILL IT INCREASE THE LENGTH OF MY PENIS? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339151)

n/t

Re:BUT WILL IT INCREASE THE LENGTH OF MY PENIS? (5, Funny)

Brian Dennehy (698379) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339263)

With the right lens, it will.

'Making a difference' isn't always good. (-1, Offtopic)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339492)

Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalen also made a difference.

Not to draw a comparison between this particular innovator and the latter-mentioned madmen, but I just wanted to point out that making a difference isn't always a good thing.

Hmmm. (-1, Offtopic)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339135)

I'd like to see how good a interferometric telescope would a beowulf cluster of those would make...

Does Slashdot Ever Find Unique Stuff Anymore? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339136)

Everything I see posted here is from a major newspaper or magazine. The submittors and editors are getting very lazy.

Re:Does Slashdot Ever Find Unique Stuff Anymore? (-1, Offtopic)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339147)

Yes, I am sick of it too! That is why I have joined anti-slash.org [anti-slash.org] . Its a anti slashdot website and you will certainly find it an insightful read.

Re:Does Slashdot Ever Find Unique Stuff Anymore? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339452)

YO! wassup! raise da roof! my pimp's chalice and cross came in the post today! off da hook! i'm gonna get soooooooo many bitches i'm gonna need a corral OMG!!!!!(i hope 'bitches' wasn't too dirty) i can't wait to hit da clubs friday! *claps* OMG i'm soooo going to tell all my friends about you! Rep'n da 04! PEACE OUT, YO!

In two years time ... (5, Funny)

Gil2796 (585952) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339145)

... Doctor Saul Griffith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and inventor of the Lego powered chocolate printer and eyeglass moulder was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Doctoral Prize for inventing a device that cheaply and easily mouldes edible chocolate eyeglasses!

He would need to invent transparent chocolate firs (4, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339285)

He would need to invent transparent chocolate first, and if that can not be a billion dollar business, then transparent aluminum most certainly will be.

Re:He would need to invent transparent chocolate f (2, Informative)

batemanm (534197) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339339)

transparent aluminum most certainly will be.

Isn't that aluminum oxide [designinsite.dk] commonly called alumina?

Nope... (1)

Sirch (82595) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339447)

Not at all - they'd be sunglasses!

The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339146)

Desktop fabrication is going to be an interesting one to watch.

Imagine downloading and printing a new bowl for your food processor, or a new toy for your kid.

Imagine, too, the anguished hand-wringing of corporations over the illegal distribution of copyrighted object designs over the Internet.

Imagine, too, the anguished hand-wringing of governments when the technology reaches a point where you can print parts for an AK-47.

My bet is it's going to be quite the roller-coaster ride when it gets here, and that it's closer than we think...

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (5, Insightful)

ktanmay (710168) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339180)

I wonder how you're planning on getting the raw materials for all that, this isn't about turning straw into gold.

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (4, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339265)

I wonder how you're planning on getting the raw materials for all that, this isn't about turning straw into gold.

Well, shit. There go my plans for a straw-fueled desktop fabricator.

If only there were some cheap, readily available metal...or perhaps a resin of some kind that wouldn't force me to mortgage my mom's basement...hell, I'd even settle for some kind of plastic that I can get my hands on for less than fifty thousand dollars an ounce.

Think, dammit, think...

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (4, Informative)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339282)

A suggestion:

3D Printers [manufacturingtalk.com]

After all, laser printers used to be incredibly expensive, but they have become inexpensive enough that if someone NEEDS one at home, they CAN afford one. Alternatively, in jet technology has brought down the price to high quality low volume printing at home. The same will happen with 3D printers. Especially, if you think about all of the packing foam and other recycleable materials we throw away right now. It really would be the ultimate in recycling.

Now all we need to do is make sure that Linux can support them. I used to say that Linux developers should be focused on alternative human interface devices, I will now add alternative/new output devices. If we have support for them before anyone else does, that's yet another "killer app" for Linux. ;)

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339466)

If we have support for them before anyone else does, that's yet another "killer app" for Linux.

I don't know if you're being serious, sarcastic, or what.
What was the first "Killer App" for Linux?

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339498)

Fwiw, your sig has a problem - it should be "A wedding is a ritual..."

wedding:marriage::funeral:death

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (1, Funny)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339204)

Oooh - when can I get one?
I want to print some new CD-Rs so I can pirate more songs without having to go to the store ;-)

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339320)

Imagine, too, the anguished hand-wringing of governments when the technology reaches a point where you can print parts for an AK-47.

The reason the AK-47 is the most common assault weapon in history is precisely that the design was made simple enough that they can be mass produced with very little in the way of machining experience. Forget printing, most of the parts in an AK-47 are stamped.

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (3, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339406)

I used the AK-47 as an example for that very reason. It's already an easy weapon to manufacture and use, but you still need some form of metalworking facility to build one, and you need some experience with metalworking and gunsmithing to be able to produce a functional weapon.

Now, if we reach the point where John Q. Malcontent can download and print the various parts of an AK-47 in the comfort of his own studio apartment in a matter of hours...

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (0)

pillendraaier (722295) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339361)

Things like this are quiet easy acutally. CAM (Comupter Aided Manufaturing). contains instructions for machines. These machine are very capable of what you pose. Thes machines, however are pretty expensive. Not to speak of the documents, containing the printfile^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HCAM program. How is going to provide you with that?

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (4, Funny)

mchappee (22897) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339390)

> Imagine downloading and printing a new bowl for your food processor, or a new toy for your kid.

Yeah, and imagine your child's disappointment when she can't have a new bike because there are no Linux drivers. :-)

Matthew

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (1)

sloptaco (709054) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339487)

Imagine when they invent those devices where you can exhale your belches into a container and save them to make a tuna melt sandwich!

--sloppy

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (5, Funny)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339540)

Imagine, too, the anguished hand-wringing of governments when the technology reaches a point where you can print parts for an AK-47.

When the printing of guns is outlawed, only outlaws will be able to print guns.

Re:The Home-Insudtrial Revolution? (4, Insightful)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339551)

Imagine, too, the anguished hand-wringing of governments when the technology reaches a point where you can print parts for an AK-47.

A desktop robot that can mould and carve soft plastic is one thing, but machining a gun barrel from iron alloy is another. It's much harder in both senses.

And unless you want to design a desktop iron smelter, you'd also need to give it just the right lump of metal alloy.

Does he do it... (5, Funny)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339149)

..."in about an hour?"

Better (5, Informative)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339191)


He does it in about 5-10 minutes.

FTA: ...he created a portable device similar to a desktop printer that can produce any prescription lens from a single-mold surface in five to 10 minutes.

Re:Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339563)

It was a joke dumbass. "in about an hour" is a catch phrase of a popular eyeglass chainstore.

Re:Does he do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339300)

If so he must be popular with the ladies

Re:Does he do it... (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339550)

You'll have to ask his girlfriend.

But on the more serious side, laser correction techniques seem to be more and more popular, at least in the U.S. It'll be interesting to see if eyeglasses are as needed in the long run.

Fool (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339153)

Best of all, he's motivated for the good of humanity.

I'm sure he'll be overjoyed when he graduates, finds himself unemployed and realizes just how much money he could have made and helped the world by patenting his invention and licensing it out.

HE CAN JUST INCREASE THE SIZE OF HIS LOVE MUSCLE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339167)

No pumps, pills or exercises necessary.

Who's the fool? (2, Informative)

heritage727 (693099) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339171)

If you'd RTFA, you would have noticed that the device is patent-pending.

Re:Fool (3, Insightful)

Denyer (717613) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339212)

True... to an extent. The 'best' solution involves holding the patent, and letting people use it for humanitarian work for free.

Re:Fool (5, Insightful)

Eagle5596 (575899) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339249)

He is patenting the device, and I for one applaud him for letting people use it. Where has our world gone that we call humanitarians fools? Last I checked, "you can't take it with you", and when it comes down to it, with the brains he has, I am sure he will find a job, especially as a Doctoral candidate. I applaud him for thinking of the wellfare of others before thinking of a new sports car like most of america.

Re:Fool (2, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339280)

No, he's making the lenses for the benefit of humanity. For his own benefit, he'll be offering special UV, anti-glare and scratch-resistant coatings, custom tinting, a line of exclusive designer frames, a mantenence and checkup program, and a two-year comprehensive protection plan.

thank god (5, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339154)

I was starting to go blind from looking at all the pron on the internet.

thanks to this man, I will now be able to see better, faster and cheaper!

Re:thank god (1)

beacher (82033) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339439)

From the article - "The current device uses car window tinting film for the membrane and a reservoir of baby oil for applying the correct pressure."

Looks like you're going to have to switch lubricants too...
-B

I predict... (5, Interesting)

Pirogoeth (662083) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339156)

Hmm, a device that can automatically figure out your prescription, and another that can make cheap eyeglasses?

I see these popping up all over the place, like the "check your blood pressure here" devices.

If it means that more people who can't afford vision correction can get glasses, whether in a poor country or not, I'm all for it.

More unemployed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339178)

Sure. For good of the humanity by helping to destroy yet another profession.

When will it end?!

Re:More unemployed (3, Insightful)

MrCam (97813) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339259)

I doubt this would destroy a profession. It would take years for this to spread and there is still a need for Opthomologists. This would just make Optimologists a little less employable. This might actually increase eye glass sales. I know that I need a new perscription but I can't afford the $200 or more for even cheap exam, glasses and frames. If they could lower the cost of the exam, glasses and frames. I would mostly likely buy a new pair every year. I might even get a couple different types for different occations.

Re:I predict... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339225)

More likely, you tell it your perscription and it prints it. There's a lot to determining what a person't perscription should be.

Re:I predict... (4, Informative)

JDevers (83155) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339279)

Um...

From the article:

"But efficient lens manufacturing is only half the issue. Proper diagnosis of vision problems is the other half. Current automatic diagnostic technologies are expensive, fragile and error-prone. Because they rely on a patient looking at electronically generated images a few inches away from his or her face, they can lead to incorrect diagnoses. Plus, highly skilled people are required to operate these machines.

To resolve this problem, Griffith has created a prototype device to test the human eye. Patients need only wear the device, which looks like an oversized pair of goggles, and look at the world around them. An electronic sensor superimposed on the goggles monitors the lens in the wearer's eye and adjusts the device's lens to cancel the refractive errors, thus determining the correct prescription.
"

Re:I predict... (4, Interesting)

mrgeometry (689087) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339315)

Actually, according the link in the original post "molds eyeglasses [mit.edu] ", he has come up with a goggle-like device that you wear, and as you look around it observes how your eyeballs and lenses change, using feedback to determine the correct prescription... it's in the article about halfway down.

To me, this seems at least as interesting as being able to actually manufacture eyeglasses. I mean, that's great, but cheap and quick fabrication is ... not really old news, but ... people have been working on that kind of thing for a while, right? How much of his eyeglass fabricator represents significant new advances, versus putting known techniques to a new (and highly laudable!) use? Maybe I'm wrong there, I don't know. But this prescription sensor seems really amazing. Being able to monitor the shape of the lens and cornea as they flex around.... Am I wrong? That seems pretty amazing to me. But he didn't win any awards for that part of it, so maybe that's actually less significant?...

zach

Who can't afford vission correction? (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339398)

How about those of us who rather were glasses or contact then having someone cut at our eyes with a laser? -5 ain't so bad as being blind thank you very much.

But seriously this guy made two wonderfull inventions. They now collect "old" glasses to send to third world but this is a logistics nightmare.

Imagine a simple jeep outfitted with these inventions doing the rounds in poor areas. Put the tester on and voila few minutes later a pair of glasses. 1 day per village. Couple of jeeps. Shouldn't take long at all (after all it is not like glasses need to replaced that often, even in the west once a year is good enough even for still growing kids).

As far as I know it ain't the material that is costly in glasses but the whole distribution process. Plenty of bargain chains around that can offer really really cheap glasses due to scale and not offering specialist lenses. This looks even cheaper for hard to reach areas.

Brilliant.

Re:I predict... (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339476)

If it means that more people who can't afford vision correction can get glasses

Laser vision correction is only viable for a certain subset of lens-correctable conditions, and isn't a good idea if your vision problem isn't static, i.e. you need a different prescription every couple years. Then there's those who don't feel glasses are so bad that they should risk eye surgery to get rid of them

"afford" isn't really the issue for most people.

such a shame (-1, Troll)

McAddress (673660) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339161)

motivated for the good of humanity."

what a great way to make sure a great invention never makes it big. I predict that in 10 years it will still have less than 5% market share. kind of like linux.

Re:such a shame (2, Insightful)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339193)

"what a great way to make sure a great invention never makes it big. I predict that in 10 years it will still have less than 5% market share. kind of like linux."

As opposed to, say, commercial stuff like Irix, which are ...

S

Re:such a shame (-1, Redundant)

McAddress (673660) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339380)

Why can't anyone on /. criticize linux without being considered a troll. I use linux. It had incredible potential. However as long as it was used as a tool of geeks coding strictly for the good of humanity. Linux went nowhere before the late 90's when people like redhat realized they could make money off of it, and then it started to take off in server circles. As long as the goal is galactic domination, linux will not make it on the desktop.

Well... (5, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339162)

I didn't see this one coming...

Re:Well... (4, Interesting)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339298)

Yeah... who could have seen a Google cache link posted by the editors coming? Not me!

And so work began.... (3, Funny)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339165)

On machines building machines, obviously starting with the T-100 series

Doll face? (4, Funny)

Halloween Jack (182035) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339168)

Griffith... imagines that mass-produced dolls could be individualized by giving each a discrete face.

Get the Real Doll [realdoll.com] [NSFW] people on the phone, stat!

Automatic vision testers! hooray! (5, Interesting)

badmonkey (29600) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339182)

I could have sworn one optometrist i went to a few years ago had a machine that automatcially brought an image into focus for me. Way cooler than this stone-age notion of looking at the eye chart as the "doctor" flips lenses. Which one is clearer, one or two. Why do we keep doing this stone age crap?

I'm all for automatic vision testing, I feel like my current prescription was issued by a talentless hack.

Automatically testing vision and cranking out lenses is sweet. Next they just need to fire on an AR coating and everyone is good to go.

Re:Automatic vision testers! hooray! (1, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339228)

I could have sworn one optometrist i went to a few years ago had a machine that automatcially brought an image into focus for me. Way cooler than this stone-age notion of looking at the eye chart as the "doctor" flips lenses. Which one is clearer, one or two. Why do we keep doing this stone age crap?

Are you sure you wern't abducted by aliens? Check the back of your neck for implants, and your ass for an antenna. Sure signs.

Only good if sufficiently accurate. (1)

Denyer (717613) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339258)

For instance, my optician thankfully doesn't place much faith in the readings of the equipment he has... otherwise I'd have glasses which caused me pain to read.

Additionally, the first opthalmologist I saw reckoned I was virtually blind in one eye. Offering to disprove this by closing the other one and seeing if I could still connect a punch presumably wouldn't have gone down too well...

There's no substitute for an experienced optician, where available. Of course, this work could help hundreds of thousands of people where there aren't.

Like the idea of the eye test goggles (5, Interesting)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339185)

To resolve this problem, Griffith has created a prototype device to test the human eye. Patients need only wear the device, which looks like an oversized pair of goggles, and look at the world around them. An electronic sensor superimposed on the goggles monitors the lens in the wearer's eye and adjusts the device's lens to cancel the refractive errors, thus determining the correct prescription.


This sounded like even cooler tech to me. I like the idea of something that takes away the subjectivness of the traditional exam for a prescription. He could even throw a glaucoma tester into the goggles.

Re:Like the idea of the eye test goggles (5, Interesting)

jstave (734089) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339401)

Actually, if these goggles could be made small and light enough, it sounds like they could *be* the glasses -- kind of an autofocus for your face. No more bi/trifocals!

Ah, the subjective eye exam... (1)

johnjay (230559) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339424)

"Tell me which view is better: choice 1 or choice 2?"

"Um..."

Re:Like the idea of the eye test goggles (3, Informative)

plexxer (214589) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339428)

They already have a device that does this. If you've ever been to a optomotrist, they sit you on a machine that flashes a pattern in front of you and makes some whirrs and clicks, and the doctor writes down the numbers. During my last exam, after my doctor gave me a traditional eye test, I asked her about that machine. She said that it gives the correct prescription nearly ever single time. I guess they do the traditional test just to be sure (or to save themselves a job :)

Wilbon's America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339186)

First post honoring Wilbon's America. I salute any man who understands the reference.

Re:Wilbon's America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339301)

PTI baby. Hey, I heard that Kornheiser's radio show was being cancelled? Any word on why this is the case? I'm normally at work when he's on but do sometimes catch a bit of it during lunch.

Anyway, it'll be a sad day when Mr. Jiggy Fly goes off the air - his show and the Phil Hendrie show are probably my two favorite radio programs.

Ah crap... (3, Funny)

HenryFjord (754739) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339190)

The pr0n is out of focus again. Time to print off some new glasses.

Re:Ah crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339437)

If you'd stop wanking all the time, you wouldn't need to keep getting stronger eyeglass prescriptions. You'd also save a lot on that "Nair for Palms" you buy by the case-load. ;)

"motivated for the good of humanity." (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339209)


and this folks is what being a real team player is all about, in society where we tell our children that greed and selfishness is bad yet buisnesses teach us the exact opposite , that greed is good and if you are not making 500$ a second profit you are failing, these sorts of things dont come round enough, ask yourself why are you here ? to be a wage slave or to make a real difference to peoples lives

A>S

Implications beyond eyeglasses (5, Interesting)

Eagle5596 (575899) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339214)

I'm interested in the uses of this machine behind eyeglasses. I've been working on several projects where we are creating instrumentation, and have been surprised to find that optics are both difficult to find in specific diameters and focal lengths, and rather expensive when you do find the optics you need.

While not a big deal to major corporations who don't balk at shelling out $20 a lens for custom work, for academic projects and independant research, that is a significant chunk of the cost of our prototype, considering the ease and realtive low cost involved in obtaining a microcontroller these days.

I imagine that, since he can make eye glasses, producing DCX, PCX, DCV, and PCV lenses would be easy too. I'd love to see this kind of machine available at academic institutions for producing parts for research.

Re:Implications beyond eyeglasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339299)

> imagine that, since he can make eye glasses, producing DCX, PCX, DCV, and PCV lenses would be easy too.

Can't wait for TIFF, JPEG and PNG glasses, too!

If only... (1)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339222)

If only more people in the world were motivated by altruism rather than the almighty dollar...

Re:If only... (1)

fair_n_hite_451 (712393) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339287)

You first ok? ;-)

Re:If only... (2, Insightful)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339306)

I don't see why it should be one or the other. Agreed, we've got a lot of Rambus, Enron and SCO alike companies, but there is also this company, or the body shop, which donates 10% of its profits to charity.

Anthem (0)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339310)

Read "Anthem" by Ayn Rand to find out exactly what would happen if more people in the world were motivated by altruism rather than the almighty dollar.

Re:Anthem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339371)

And what makes you think that she got anything right in that book in the first place?

Re:If only... (2, Insightful)

TheSync (5291) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339349)

If you look closely at the site, you will see that to effectively get the eyeglass lens molders into work in third-world countries, they will depend on "microentrepreneurs" in those countries selling glasses for about $5 each. These people will, of course, be motivated by the almightly dollar (or rupee or whatever).

More power! (4, Funny)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339232)

inventor of the Lego powered chocolate printer

I skimmed the paper, searched for Lego, and as it turns out he's really not uses Legos to power his system. It's merely built out of Legos. I'm disappointed...I thought he developed some sort of fusion generator, a la Back to the Future. Add a flux capacitor and a DeLorean and then I'll really be impressed.

Re:More power! (1)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339353)

inventor of the Lego powered chocolate printer

I skimmed the paper, searched for Lego, and as it turns out he's really not uses Legos to power his system. It's merely built out of Legos.

...And I thought the printer was made out of chocolate.

What disappointments!

Re:More power! (-1)

m1chael (636773) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339565)

And I thought it printed Powered Chocolate(TM) from the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory - Digital Coacoa Division.

simplifying sight (3, Interesting)

JWG (665579) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339241)

glasses and eyesight used to be one of those really crazy scientific endeavours. how many of use have had huge, unwieldy glasses when we were younger, and trips to the optometrist were like going to some strange laboratory? things like this are fantastic, simplifying the field and making it more accessible to all. i heard about another system developed that can diagnose stimatism by analyzing the red-eye in a photograph. these kinds of scientific endeavours inspire others!

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339242)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Join the fun!!! [slashdot.org]

Do you know gamespy.slashdot.org??? [slashdot.org]

Re:XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

loserbert (697119) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339273)

Apparently it can't help you do math.....

Re:XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339311)

you failed first post by a good 15 minutes. chump.

The real cost of glasses? (4, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339261)

I hope his next machine makes the frames. The experiences of folks I know who wear glasses (I don't) has been that the lenses are not the biggest cost, it is the frames. Why do frames cost so damn much? I know super cheap frames would be fine for charitable aid to poor people just so they can see but the cost of your average frames, something that strikes me as pretty simple to make, is way too high in the US.

Are frames really that complex and hard to make or is there a lack of competition in the marketplace?

Re:The real cost of glasses? (3, Funny)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339388)

Frames are fashionable. Their costs reflect their designer's "genius".

I know the average geek can't appreciate fashion. And rightly so. But we have to deal with it.

Re:The real cost of glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339404)

I think it's mostly about fashion. Americans like to have the coolest, hippest fashion, so they have to pay for it. My $200 frames only cost $200 because they have an adidas logo on them. (I just like them best, didn't buy them for the logo)

We also have a taste for titanium, bendy frames, etc. Cheap frames are out there, but they are, um, cheap. Cheaply made, no style, etc.

No lack of scale and logistics (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339441)

There are cheap stores with cheap frames but they offer a very small selection.

In more upbeat stores frames are closer to designer clothing. You pay because the costs of designing a new model is only spread over a few models. Ford Focus costs less then say the latest ferrari and that ain't just the cost of manufacturing.

But yes for those in need a single frame design in a couple of sizes (for different size heads) is not that expensive. Just ask any army that used to issue soldiers with glasses. Or for that matter look at the cost of sunglasses.

Re:No lack of scale and logistics (2, Funny)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339514)

Just ask any army that used to issue soldiers with glasses.
HA! Then we won't need to market safe sex or distribute condoms to the third world either, because the BCG's will take care of it. (Birth Control Glasses)

Re:The real cost of glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339457)

Well the nice ones come from designers and are marked up to make back money for the design (intellectual property?). They are also made out of good materials (titanium, high-tech new plastics...), and the stores have to have a decent markup if they are going to keep a good selection in stock. You can get cheap frames like those on the rack for middle aged farsighted folks at Walgreens, but it's pricey to get frames that you are going to want to wear every day.
Beleie me I have spent money on this.

Re:The real cost of glasses? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339555)

There are only a few fabricators of frames. Like almost every other business, the products are just rebranded. There are different types of frames and some do use more expensive materials. That said, there's a huge markup on frames in "designer" stores.

Sometimes the lens themselves can be expensive if you have a weird prescription. There are also premiums charged for high-refractive lens (so you avoid the coke-bottle look), scratch resistance, tinting, etc.. These can add $200 to the cost of the lens depending on the store. Actual cost is about $5-10 extra so again, there's a huge markup.

Re:The real cost of glasses? (1)

Garfunkel (3569) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339557)

My wife just bought some new glasses. Lenses were about $380 for the pair, the frame I think was $60.

I fail to see (-1, Troll)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339266)

the use of chocolate sunglasses. It's clear to me these goggles do nothing!

Very tasteful styles, though.

Re:I fail to see (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339334)

It's clear to me these goggles do nothing!

The goggles, they do nothing!

More Wishes! (3, Funny)

dewboy (22280) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339274)

I want a desktop fabricator that can create a desktop fabricator.

Mmm.... Recursion...

Eye Doctors becomming obsolete (3, Insightful)

pudge_lightyear (313465) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339303)

Wow... could it be that in a few years, traditional eye doctors will become obsolete, replaced by scientists and machine assemblers who never see a patient. I'm taking this from the guy who said he could see these next to the blood pressure machine in wal-mart.

Could this be the writing on the wall for any similar "traditionally" professional occupations. If this is the case for eye doctors, which I'm sure didn't "SEE" this coming, I wonder what's next. Could there be a machine that analyzes your blood and prescribes through a vending machine your prescription?

OR... could I be thinking the insane thinking that many slashdotters and other people do when this type of thing is first invented.

Remember that cars were going to fly long before the year 2000.

Re:Eye Doctors becomming obsolete (3, Insightful)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339513)

Eye doctors do more than just prescribe eyeglasses. They can also diagnose eye diseases and conditions, and refer patients to more specialized medical treatments. For example, the fact that someone's eyesight is decreasing could be due to blood vessels bursting inside the eye as a result of diabetes. A simple machine that just measures your eyeglass prescription cant check that.

Comparing this with bloodpressure devices is silly. Any data about a specific measurement of a condition in the body has to be assessed along with other contextual data (other symptoms or lack thereof) to determine if there's a problem.

So, until you can have a machine that can read all possible physical data outputs from a person's body, and analyse in real time all possible medical problems based on those measurements, I doubt doctors of any field will become obsolete.

Kudos to Saul Griffith (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339304)

Having -8.5 dioptre I can imagine how it would suck to life without noseglasses.

Well, thanks to this man there might soon be roughly 1 billion people less with such a problem.

Good Job.

CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8339522)

Why the parent is a Troll?

I know it's 10AM in the US and american slashdotters are the majority right now... But the is a new low... even for american slashdotters...

This guy also makes other stuff (3, Informative)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339377)

Like Plastic Bicycles [mit.edu] and Toys [mit.edu] .

Here's his first glasses prototype! [mit.edu] Welcome back to the eighties! ;)

Wrong kind of idealism (4, Insightful)

e.m.rainey (91553) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339434)

Get your mod points ready...

I "like" how the story posters of slashdot are blinded by these bland phrases like "good of humanity". What exactly does that mean here? Is he giving it away for free? No, but it will be cheap. Is he opening the IP up? No, it's patent pending. In fact he's begining to sound like a (*gasp*) capitalist! And we all know they been knocked around here enough to be demonized. But unsuprisingly when a capitalist helps the poor by helping himself he's a put up on a pedastal as the savior of humanity, but if he helps himself by helping the rich or even just the middle class he's deridded as a scum sucking bottom feeder business man. Why the double standard, slashdot? Why? Is it because the motives seem more pure or somehow more righteous? That perhaps, because poor people get the short end of the stick all over the world that they don't just need help, but somehow deserve it too? That we are compelled to serve them? And when we don't feel compelled by this directive we've somehow failed at an obvious yet never stated goal of life?

What this guy has done is great, not because it will help poor people but because he's been extremely clever. I hope he makes an assload of money. Of course once he does make a reasonable sum, some people will complain that his motives aren't pure anymore. One can only hope they can synthesize becoming rich and helping poor people in the same thought.

How long before... (3, Funny)

Zangief (461457) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339461)

He is sued by the people who makes the eyeglasses today?

Myopia research (0, Offtopic)

adept256 (732470) | more than 9 years ago | (#8339464)

Griffith has created a prototype device to test the human eye.

I have a scientist friend who's currently researching myopia. I must tell him about this! I'm not too familiar with the nature of his research, but I do know that he's harvested roughly 3000 chicken eyes while gathering data... not sure what he does with them... sorry ;)

The article is pretty vague about the workings and capabilities of this prototype. Does anyone have more information on this?
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