Could a Smartphone Give You an Eye Exam?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: It never ceases to amaze me the things that can be done with a smartphone.  The MIT Media Lab has developed a device that can attach to a smartphone and essentially provide an eye exam.  Here is the description they gave with the video below:

Our small, portable solution allows for anyone, anywhere to get an eye exam, and access a care provider through the mobile network. The setup consists of three parts: a smart phone, a hardware app and a software app.

Snap the NETRA adapter onto a smart phone loaded with NETRA software, follow the simple instructions, and quickly receive your prescription for glasses right on the phone. NETRA fits snugly in a pocket and requires minimal training to operate.

Starting with refractive errors and cataracts, NETRA and CATRA are our first of a growing line of solutions geared towards eye health. Stay tuned to our twitter feed for continual developments over the coming months.



They claim that it only requires minimal training, and judging by the video it looks pretty simple.  Obviously this won’t provide a comprehensive eye exam, but for people who can’t afford to go long distances to a doctor this could easily help them to see better.

As someone who has never really had vision problems, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to deal with not seeing well.  On the other hand I have seen my wife deal with poor vision and all of the difficulties it provides when she is not wearing her glasses.  Now people who previously had little to no chance of getting a prescription will no longer have to suffer through those difficulties.

It is also great to see that the caliber of people at MIT are working on healthcare devices and apps.  As more and more high quality developers get into the industry, the quality of new applications should only improve, and improve our lives.

More information is available on their website.