TEDxBoston - Ramesh Raskar - Eye Exams: There's An App For That

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 14.07.2011

Let's the start with the question
How many of you own
a high-end
medical device?
Well, that's not surprising
These devices are bulky
and require trained professionals. Here i'm getting
a cataract test, a device that really hasn't changed
for several decades
I'm getting a retinal exam
But check out the user interface. It is a quarter million dollar device
but the nurse is shaving my head into de eye piece
And here
for eyeglasses
Now, these solutions are fine
in developed world
but in developing countries
millions of people who are suffering
because of lack of diagnostic solutions
for problems that actually have
you know, great solutions, easy solutions
We have a new solution
called NETRA
NETRA is a
clip-on eyepiece
that goes
on top of a cell phone, it costs only a dollar
You would look to it
interactive align the patterns that are shown on screen
using the keyboard, hit calculate
and it'll give you
the data for prescription of your eyeglasses
It can measure nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism
and NETRA stands for
"eye" in sanskrit and very conveniently
also a Near Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment
Now, you know more than two billion people have a refractive error, we have a pretty good
representation here
but unfortunately more than half a billion people worldwide need glasses
but don't have them
And it's not just about
the problem of blurry vision but blurry vision means
lack of education
which leads to be illiteracy
lack of employment
which leads to unemployment
and of course that leads to poverty
But, people do have mobile phones. In fact, there are mobile phones that
So, next project should be about a toothbrush on a mobile phone
In developing countries,
i think we have an opportunity to solve this problem
in a different way
To provide eyeglasses there are two pieces of the puzzle
There's diagnostics and there's dispensing of eyeglasses, and you may have heard of
clever solutions for creating glasses but what's been happening over time
is that the cost
of providing eyeglasses has come down dramatically
As you can see this person on the bottom right uh... is selling eyeglasses
in Mumbai
for under three dollars and still everybody in the pipeline
in the chain
makes money
On the diagnostic side, surprisingly there's no easy solution and we still
require equipment and trained professionals for that
Let's think about a really high-end equipment
for doing an eye test. This is called Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor
and this is what you would use
before LASIK surgery
to get a refraction map
It shines light into the eye and measures the wavefront of the light that is coming up
I love this stuff
I mean at my lab, at the MIT Media Lab
we build crazy cameras and displays and we are inventing some really interesting things
We are building a camera
that can look around corners
beyond line of sight
It is like a million dollar camera
We are building CAT scans machines that are portable
and we are building glasses free
3D displays
But every once in a while
I can boil down all the mathematics and optics and theory
down to something really simple
and straightforward
that just costs a dollar
actually goes in the opposite direction
of this Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor. It is the inverse of that. Instead of shining lasers
into the eye, I am going to ask you to look into the cell phone
The NETRA eye piece
is a series of lenslets, this eye piece here, very cheap
we can make it for just a dollar or so
And when you look through it, there will be some patterns and your goal is to align
the spots
on the LCD
As you can see on the bottom right
when all spots are aligned into a single dot
you stop
and the number of clicks it takes
to do the alignment in every different direction
gives us your spherical and cyclical power
Now, what's going on. Why are we able to use LCDs? This was not possible even
two or three years ago
What's been happening over time
is cell phone makers are
increasing the resolution of the mobile phone displays. And why is that?
Because all of us want to watch our favorite episodes of Lost and
Desperate Housewives in HD
Just think of what that. The pixel pitch at 300+ DPI
is down to 25 micrometers and when they called it a retina display
they didn't realize we will actually use it
to look at the eye
At that resolution, at 25 micrometers we can actually convert the
cell phone into a scientific instrument
So please go and watch
more HD content
and play more video games because others can exploit that
to provide diagnostic care in remote parts of the world
So, because it is portable
and easy to use and doesn't require expertise
we have received a tremendous response for NETRA and I am happy to tell you that
where more than a dozen countries
and we have great collaborators
who are NGOs
We're working with eye clinics
eye glasses providers and also doing several IRB approved trials
As a professor of course i get great pleasure to see that my students are
writing prestigious academy papers in the geekiest of
you know, with NETRA
in a way, we can
a shock at a decent education
that they would not have if the had blurry vision
We can think of NETRA as a thermometer for an eye because you
can check the eyesight more frequently
over time
For a day laborer
it's important for employment
to make sure the vision is able to function for the tasks
But often
all you really want to do is watch Ronaldinho
kick that soccer goal
and watch it beautifully on your TV
So I think we're entering in a new era here. We all know about software app store
We entering an era of
"hardware app store"
Where you will have a dollar or two clip-on that are created by developers
and that is available to us
as a new innovation in economy
And within that
we are excited about this notion of mobile mates
The mobile mates goes well beyond just peripherals that you would attach
You may have seen ultrasound scanners and other health devices
that are connected to the phone. But they are using the phone just as a
computer or communication device. And here we are exploiting
the phone as a scientific instrument because
phone makers are cramming all kinds of beautiful
input and output components
into small form factors
Well, where else mobile mates can go
which are cloudiness in your lens
Our NGO partners told us
"but that is the leading cause of blindness"
There is a solution for that as well
called CATRA and encourage you to come during the break and look at the solution we
have built
for contract
CATRA is like a radar
for the cloud cover
inside your lens. By scanning it we can figure out the position of
the cloudiness
Mobile Mates
for health
If I give you, the right
mobile phone mate,
how many of you will have a scientific instrument?
Now, that's not surprising.