Now, get your eyes tested by a cellphone
A team led by an Indian-origin professor has devised a method of using mobile phones for conducting eye tests, a technique it hopes will be useful in places lacking hi-tech eye equipment.
The device, called NETRA, which means eye in Hindi, has been designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab associate professor Ramesh Raskar, visiting professor Manuel Oliveira, student Vitor Pamplona and postdoctoral research associate Ankit Mohan.
The two-minute eye test can be carried out using a small plastic device clipped in front of a cellphone's screen.
The patient looks into a small lens, presses the phone's arrow keys until sets of parallel green and red lines just overlap. The process is repeated eight times with the lines at different angles for each eye.
The entire process takes less than two minutes after which the software loaded in the phone provides prescription data.
"Our device has the potential to make routine refractive eye exams simpler and cheaper, and, therefore, more accessible to millions of people in developing countries," Oliveira said in a statement.
The technology takes advantage of the huge improvements over the last few years in the resolution of digital displays and their widespread proliferation on cellphones.
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