This surely is a boon. A bunch of Indian Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab have worked on a unique idea that is simply “genius”.
They developed a device and its associated software that will enable you or a doctor to test your vision right there with his/her mobile phone with absolutely no need for any huge or complex equipment! NETRA as they call it has been designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar, visiting Professor Manuel Oliveira, student Vitor Pamplona and postdoctoral research associate Ankit Mohan.
NETRA – Indian for Eye/vision, is an extremely feasible mobile solution to test the eyes without need of complex equipment. NETRA stands for “Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment”.
NETRA is designed to work with any cell phone. The solution is made up of a small hook up device that is attached to the phone’s screen. A patient looks through the hook up device and a software in the phone can determine a person’s vision precription on the spot. The hook up device contains a lens that communicates directly with the mobile phone.
As the patient looks throught the lens on to the screen, he/she will see a set of parallel green and red lines. With the key pad of the phone one has to adjust the lines until they overlap thus letting the phone measure their precise vision. The process is repeated about 8 times at different angles for each eye.
The software gives you a final result along with the prescriotion data. The device will work with a wide variety of smartphones including the iPhone. The device currently costs only $2 and can be cut down once its manufactured on a large scare. There are plans to produce this device on a large scale.
This device is surely a blessing for the poor nations where doctors find it hard to carry eye testing equipment. Having a mobile phone that can do that with the right software and which can also store records for later review is simply a blessing.
According to the World Health Organisation, uncorrected refractive errors are the world’s second-highest cause of blindness, affecting about two per cent of the world’s population. It was also reported that nearly two billion people have refractive errors and they could be potential beneficiaries of the new system.
Only now for the first time I feel mobile phones are being used for something meaningful! Will we at the US use this, where the cost of medicine and tests is sky high?
You can read more at the MIT website here.
Enjoy the video.