Visual impairment affects 285 million people around the globe. Nearly 80 percent of that can be prevented or cured if diagnosed correctly and timely but the cost of using conventional devices to treat eye diseases is too high to be affordable for everyone.
A group of engineers is trying to circumvent that problem by using the cheaply-available Raspberry Pi computers to make an Ophthalmoscope, a device that allows medical experts to detect eye diseases easily.
Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope (OIO) Project
The OIO is a portable retinal camera that costs a fraction of the cost of a conventional Ophthalmoscope. It uses machine learning technology spot eye problems and the more it is used, the better it can get for checking problems over long-term use.
“The Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope is a portable retinal camera that uses machine learning to make diagnosis not only affordable but also accurate and reliable,” says Sandeep Vempati, a mechanical engineer at the Srujana Center for Innovation, a part of the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) working on the OIO project.
The device itself is formed using Raspberry Pi, an ultra-cheap computer that is also incredibly tiny in size. Using this computer keeps the costs down.
“Although eye care services have become increasingly available,” said Sandeep, “diagnosing diseases like diabetic retinopathy is still a problem in many parts of the world.”
Using OIO in Pakistan
A great deal of the Pakistani population lives below the poverty line, leaving them unable to afford expensive eye treatments. The OIO, on the other hand, costs just $800 to build— almost one-tenth the cost of a professional retinal camera.
“The OIO can be 3D-printed and, therefore, can be assembled anywhere in the world.”
You can find all the necessary details for building an Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope over on their Hackday page. The components that you will need include a Raspberry Pi 3, a Camera Module, a 20 dioptre lens, front-end mirrors, and a 5-inch touchscreen.