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MIT Develops Smartphone App to Test Your Eyes

Researchers at MIT have developed an application that produces results comparable to standard tests performed by optometrists. The patient looks into a lens and uses arrow keys on the phone to make sets of green and red parallel lines overlap. The phone then changes the angle of the lines, asking the user to the same test again. After performing the task eight times with each eye, a process that takes about two minutes, the application processes the results and spits out 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," MIT News quotes Professor Manuel Oliveir as saying.

A colleague of his, postdoctoral research associate Ankit Mohan, explains that though there have been other replacements for the standard systems for determining prescriptions, the key to this new method is that it doesn't involve any moving parts.

Apart from the software to run on the phone, all that's needed is the snap-on plastic device, which Mohan says can be produced at a cost of about $1 to $2 today but could cost only a few cents in large quantities.

Check out the video below to get a look at the technology for yourself.

  • misry
    "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,"

    Either they don't understand the concept of "developing country" or they want "millions of people" to stick my phone in their faces. Which is it?
    Reply
  • razercultmember1
    MISRyEither they don't understand the concept of "developing country" or they want "millions of people" to stick my phone in their faces. Which is it?
    ...doctors abroad will use these phones... you lose at the internet
    Reply
  • Humans think
    y one phone per clinic is enough. It is not that accurate but it looks like a cool idea, if we are complaining/flaming about apple-tax, you cannot imagine the med-tax. Taking advantage of existing mass production hardware and developing software solutions is the way to go if you want to improve things big time in countries with low healthcare budgets.
    Reply
  • It is not from MIT only, is MIT and UFRGS, an Brazilian federal university.
    Reply
  • from viewing this video it seems a tad complex.
    Reply
  • the_krasno
    Stick your eyes at the screen for a free laser eye surgery!

    -- Futurama.
    Reply
  • Azriel4444
    Um, I'm-red green color blind and so is 1 in 20 men. MIT should know better then to use those colors.
    Reply
  • ronch79
    So will this be more effective on an iPhone 4?
    Reply
  • @Azriel4444;

    Red and Green are used for a very good reason, in that the human eye focuses red and green light differently due to their different wavelengths and position on the visual spectrum. Even if you can't clearly see red and green, they will still appear differently to you and the test will still work.

    In any event, this is a nifty gimmick in terms of portability, but brings nothing new to the table in real terms. It's simply a mobile way to do refraction estimates, so replaces an autorefractor unit, which is routinely used in Optometry, and only really provides an estimate of the final prescription. Nobody in their right mind would want to prescribe from the results of this only.
    Reply
  • Gin Fushicho
    Crap, one reason I want the phone now. My eye deteriorate fast, so I need frequent check ups.
    Reply