Have trouble seeing? Do you need to visit a doctor about lingering eye problems?
Forget about it. Your smart phone can now provide the same services at a cheap and effective cost.
MIT scientists have developed a smart phone application that can diagnose and prescribe eyeglass prescriptions. The new app requires two minutes of your time and the purchase of a two dollar attachable viewfinder; but it could save a trip to the doctor's office.
The app, which will be released at the SIGGRAPH Conference in Los Angeles this July, is referred to as NETRA, or the Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment.
NETRA operates like a camera with manual focus. After the user attaches a conical viewfinder to their smart phone screen, the app displays a group of patterns. The app requires users to bring the patterns into focus by pushing a series of buttons. The more buttons pressed, the worse your eyesight is. The process is repeated four time after which a prescription is determined. The whole process from beginning to end takes about two minutes.
While NETRA is considered a technological time saver, it does not replace a trip to the optometrist. The eye app cannot determine prescriptions based on medical history nor can it identify types of eye disease.
David Brady, optics expert at Duke University, says this app will have a worldwide effect. "What's really cool about this project is that it can be deployed worldwide. People might not have good access to high quality ophthalmologic equipment, but throughout the world there is good access to cell phones."
The app and screen will be known as PerfectSight upon release. It is expected to be worldwide within three to six months.
Information from msnbc.com
Copyright (c) 2009 HGTV and Scripps Howard News Service
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