OLPC designer eyes cheap specs for kids

Yves Behar turns his attention to See Well to Learn Better, a program aimed at designing and distributing durable glasses to needy Mexican children.

Juniper Foo

See Well to Learn Better glasses
Cheap doesn't have to mean dorky. The two-part frames are fully customizable with top and bottom colors that can be mixed and matched to fit all kids' personal taste. fuseproject/Augen Optics

You've got to give it to Yves Behar for his philanthropic vision, one that's now turned from the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project to cheap glasses for children. No, they aren't called OSPC, One (pair of) Spectacles Per Child. But they do run along the same lines of reaching out to poor, needy students.

The chief industrial designer has christened his latest outing See Well to Learn Better, with the glasses designed to be almost unbreakable, and of course, as good as free. Working with Augen Optics, some 400,000 pairs of glasses a year will be given to myopic Mexican children between 6 and 18 years old who can't afford eye exams or eyeglasses so they can at least read the blackboard.

See Well to Learn Better glasses
The almost unbreakable eyewear is made to be durable, even on the sports field. fuseproject/Augen Optics

Behar told the Guardian that "similar to the OLPC philosophy, I want to design products that are suited to the children's specific needs, life, and environment." He discovered that the lack of eyewear was impacting school results in poorer nations, with research showing that 11 percent of children weren't learning simply because they could not read blackboards or books.

To make the eyewear more acceptable, the OLPC designer made the two-part frames fully customizable with top and bottom colors that can be mixed and matched to fit all children's personal taste and make the specs "fun and personal."

If the glasses prove successful, Behar might consider expanding his initiative to other countries.

(Source: Crave Asia)