Google Doodle honours Otto Wichterle, contact lens inventor on his 108th birthday; Who was Otto Wichterle?

Wishing Otto Wichterle, contact lens inventor, on his 108th birth anniversary, Google doodle said, “Happy Birthday, Otto Wichterle- thanks for helping the world see eye to eye!”

Created On: Oct 27, 2021 10:20 ISTModified On: Oct 27, 2021 11:21 IST
Otto Wichterle
Otto Wichterle

Google with a doodle celebrated Otto Wichterle’s 108th birth anniversary on October 27, 2021. Otto Wichterle, a Czech Chemist, is the man who invented the soft contact lenses. Google’s plan of celebrating Wichterle’s birth anniversary through a creative doodle aims at enlightening netizens about the groundbreaking work of the scientist. Modern soft contact lens, the gift by Wichterle to the world, are used approximately by 140 million people all over the world for their eyesight needs.

Google doodle on Otto Wichterle features an animated figurine of the Czech chemist holding a lens on his finger, while the light is reflected to form the Google logo in the background, as the representative of the eyesight. Wishing Wichterle on his 108th birth anniversary, Google said, “Happy Birthday, Otto Wichterle- thanks for helping the world see eye to eye!”

Who was Otto Wichterle?

Otto Wichterle was the inventor of contact lenses. However, his innovations also laid the foundation for state-of-the-art medical technologies, such as smart biomaterials that are used to restore human connective tissues and the bio-recognizable polymers that have inspired a new standard for drug administration. 

How Otto Wichterle invent the first contact lenses?

Wichertle, who wore spectacles himself, in 1961, produced the very first soft contact lense. It was made with a DIY apparatus made of a child's erector set, a phonograph motor, a bicycle light battery, and a homemade glass tubbing and moulds. This was the earliest version of modern contact lenses that are now used. 

Otto Wichterle's genius is also reflected in the fact that the contact lenses were invented by him at home, where he was refining the hydrogel development after he was pushed out of the ICT (Prague Institute of Chemical Technology) because of political turmoil.

Otto Wichterle: Personal details

• Wichterle was born October 27, 1913, in the Czech Republic (then, Austria-Hungary).

• Wichterle was the lover of science from youth. He went on to earn his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1936 from the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT). 

• During the 1950s, he taught at his alma meter as a professor while also developing an absorbent and transparent gel for eye transplants.

• Wichterle, known as the inventor of countless patents and a lifelong researcher, was also elected as the First President of the Academy of Czech Republic, after the country's establishment in 1993. 

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