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See Better To Learn Better by Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject 06.05.10

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These glasses cost five dollars to produce. They are designed by Fuseproject, which was commissioned by the Mexican government and lens manufacturer Augen. The challenge was to come up with a low-cost product for See Better To Learn Better, the children's charity helping poorer communities in Mexico.

The frames, made from a lightweight plastic called Grilamide, are split in two halves. This makes the process of inserting the lenses easier and cheaper than the more common heating method. It also makes customisation much easier, as the children can choose different colours for the top and bottom half.

In poorer areas of Mexico children with bad eyesight often can't afford glasses, which has an adverse affect on their education. A relatively simple initiative like the See Better To Learn Better charity, which hands out 400,000 pairs to these communities every year, is a big help. "It's a problem that has always being attacked on a similar basis – through distributing recycled glasses," says Yves Béhar, founder of San Francisco-based Fuseproject. "But the kids don't want to wear them. They have a sense of self and what they like and dislike, and what makes them feel great."

So Fuseproject had its work cut out in terms of meeting a strict budget and pleasing some very picky customers. Amazingly, they managed to produce glasses that were both cheaper and more desirable than the present option. "The first thing the directors of the charity did was to sit on the glasses," says Béhar. "It was to make sure that they were flexible and durable enough." Luckily, they didn't break.

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Johanna Agerman

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This makes the process of inserting the lenses easier and cheaper than the more common heating method

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