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Project Ball Squeezer

  [vote for,

Although I myself am still in the first flush of youth, it has come to my attention that old age generally brings about an inability of the eyes to shift focus. Whether this is due to weakening of the muscles that reshape the lens, or due to increased lens stiffness, still seems not to be resolved. But, in any case, it is an embuggerance when one's natural focal plane is fixed at some arbitrary and generally inconvenient distance.

It should be possible to fix this with some sort of replacement lens (that is, replacing the natural one) that includes an autofocus component. This, however, is not yet within our abilities.

Instead, therefore, MaxCo. has been working on its own solution to the problem, in a research programme codenamed Ball Squeezer.

The Ball Squeezer is actually a thin band of material, composed in part of an electrically-reactive polymer which contracts in response to an applied voltage. The band is fitted around the eyeball, in the vertical plane. Hair-fine wires connect it to a controller and wirelessly-rechargeable battery pack which can be conveniently implanted in any nearby sinus.

In response to a signal from a handheld transmitter, the Ball Squeezer will either contract or expand by a few millimetres. The resulting elongation or shortening of the eyeball is then sufficient to bring the farthest hilltop or the nearest fine print into crystal-clear focus. Initial trials have been most promising, especially since some firmware fixes were introduced to eliminate the Feldman effect.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 23 2017


       Well, at least it's not in Other:[General] ...
8th of 7, Jun 23 2017

       And your suggested category would be?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 23 2017

       The increased eyeball pressure won't push fluids through the tissues at the back of the eye?
wjt, Jun 24 2017

       Less intrusive to squeeze the entire head?
pocmloc, Jun 24 2017

       So, not a new type of gonad clamp?
xenzag, Jun 24 2017

       Thank goodness, the standard gonad clamps are all perfectly usable.
tatterdemalion, Jun 24 2017

       // squeeze the entire head? //   

       Possible. Some sort of remotely controlled squeezing hat ?
8th of 7, Jun 24 2017

       Ah yes, my colleague Dr. Phibes tried this once - didn't end well.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 24 2017

       Ah yes, the infamous Phibes-Buchanan Pimple Reduction Helmet. A well-meaning attempt to address an important dermatological issue, but frankly the prototype... lacked subtlety ?   

       We cannot dispute that all the targeted pimples were successfully dealt with; however, the wisdom of reusing the coconut-harvesting machine as a source of components - especially the control system for the hydraulics - is questionable. The coroner certainly questioned it. And there was really no need to demonstrate the problem with that unfortunate pig ... the blood was everywhere.
8th of 7, Jun 24 2017

       Didn't Newton try to achieve a similar effect using a large sewing needle?
EnochLives, Jun 24 2017

       It occurs to me that this action could be accomplished be repurposing existing structures, thus obviating the need for artificial and failure-prone tubes and wires. The eye is already surrounded by muscles, which see use in turning the eyeball various directions. The face also has a lot of muscles which are used to make various expressions, many of which are used only very occasionally. People often voluntarily dispense with the action of these muscles via injection of botox, the result being an expressionless approximation of the first flush of youth.   

       I propose that a pair of these superfluous face muscles be unmoored, and with their supplying nerves and vessels be threaded back under the skin to the orbit where they are wrapped around the eye. Now the voluntary action corresponding to a certain expression (for example wiggling the ears, or raised eyebrows) would instead produce the aforementioned squeeze of the eyeballs.
bungston, Jun 24 2017

       That, [bungston] is not an entirely bad idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 24 2017

       Careful with that - I experienced some odd effects in my vision and investigated.   

       Apparently when I'm under a lot of stress the muscles squeezing my eye get carried away, and as a result where you would see a set of orthogonal lines on a piece of graph paper or Excel spreadsheet, I see a slightly Dali-esque set of warped lines.
normzone, Jun 24 2017

       Are your eye muscles not already connected to that of your arse? - which is why constipated related straining whilst on the toilet makes your eyes scringe up.
xenzag, Jun 24 2017

       More likely the arse muscles are cross-connected with his lips, jaw, and larynx; that's where he talks out of, after all ...
8th of 7, Jun 24 2017

       Batteries and firmware may not be necessary should the ball compression band be appropriately tensioned by cables. These pull cables could be attached to a small magnet free to slide up and down a tube embedded just underneath the surface of the skin. One could then apply a powerful external magnet to the area in order to position the internal magnet appropriately. There remains the challenge of designing a compression sphincter which can be operated by drawstrings. Perhaps some arrangement similar to the aperture drive for a camera lens could achieve this?
bhumphrys, Jun 25 2017

       Why not just replace the lens, iris and cornea with a tiny black bellows with a fixed-focus lens on the end, which can be cranked in and out on a set of brass rails fixed to a polished mahogany bracket screwed to the cheekbones ?   

       Very steampunk ....
8th of 7, Jun 25 2017


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