Posts Tagged ‘ technology ’

Contact Lenses were invented 500 years ago


The first known sketches of contact lenses were apparently produced by italian architect, mathematician and inventor Leonardo da Vinci in 1508.

Although Leonardo da Vinci never actually produced a physical model of contact lens, many believe that his ideas eventually led to contact lens development more than 130 years later .

The early contact lenses were entirely made of glass, and they covered the whole eye, including the sclera, the white part of the eye, hence they were very heavy and reduced the oxygen supply to the eye. For this reason they could only be tolerated for a few hours only so did not become very popular.

As the years went by, new materials such as plastic were developed, in 1936, New York optometrist William Feinbloom  introduced scleral lenses made of a combination of glass and plastic that were significantly lighter than older glass-blown contacts.

Later on in 1948, California optician Kevin Tuohy introduced the first contact lenses that resembled modern gas permeable (GP) contact lenses of today. These all-plastic lenses were called “corneal” contact lenses because they were smaller in diameter than previous contact lenses and covered only the clear front surface of the eye (the cornea).

Perhaps the biggest event in the history of contact lenses was the invention of the first hydrophilic (“water-loving”) hydrogel soft contact lens material by Czech chemists Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim in 1959.

Wichterle and Lim’s discovery led to the 1971 launch of the first FDA-approved soft contact lenses in the United States — Bausch + Lomb’s “SofLens” brand contacts.

From that moment on contact lenses technology improved significantly until the latest introduction of silicone hydrogel contact lenses.


Berg’s Little Printer


Design studio Berg has announced a new product, the Little Printer, which will be available for purchase in 2012. According to Berg’s blog, the Little Printer “lives in your front room and scours the web on your behalf, assembling the content you care about into designed deliveries a couple of times a day”.

The film below shows the Little Printer in action:


Users configure the Little Printer from their mobile phones, and the product launches in partnership with Google, the Guardian, Nike, Arup and foursquare. The Little Printer will receive personalised information from these sites, and presumably other sources as it gets up and running. It is the first product that uses the ‘Berg Cloud’ technology, a new way of connecting and controlling wireless products in the home. The Little Printer wirelessly connects to a small box plugged into a broadband router, which is controlled by a mobile phone rather than a PC.

“We love physical stuff,” say Berg on their blog. “Connecting products to the web lets them become smarter and friendlier – they can sit on a shelf and do a job well, for the whole family or office – without all the attendant complexities of computers, like updates or having to tell them what to do.”

We’ve yet to see the Little Printer in action: judging from the film we do wonder whether a small paper print out will be able to contain the huge amount of news, opinions and ideas that come at us digitally every day. And people will undoubtedly flag up the question of paper wastage. But, having said that, paper still holds a huge place in our lives; as Berg puts it: “Paper is like a screen that never turns off. You can stick it to the fridge or tuck it in your wallet. You can scribble on it, or tear it and give it to a friend.”

More info on the Little Printer is at the Berg website,, where you can also join the mailing list to be the first to be informed on news about the product launch.