In a world where “Yo” passes for a revolutionary form of communication, a gadget that allows anyone with an iPhone to provide the developing world with better vision should surely get equal attention. That is exactly what a startup named Smart Vision Labs has produced with the SVOne. With $6.1 million in fresh funding, the company believes it can give one billion people around the world the eye care they need.
When you go to your optometrist, the equipment he or she uses to check out your eyes costs upwards of $20,000. In poorer countries, that is an impossibly huge investment to have to make. As a result, vast numbers of people do not receive the far more moderately priced prescription they need in order to maintain good vision.
In contrast, once the SVOne is in full production, it will cost around $4,000 — still a large sum of money, but only a fifth of the price of the traditional equipment. It works by shining a light onto the patient’s retina, and measuring the waveform that is reflected. Part of the saving can be attributed to the fact that it uses the iPhone’s 8MP camera to record the results. In addition, the test is incredibly speedy, at around one minute per patient, meaning that large, remote communities can easily be assessed in flying visits. Kids are far happier to sit through an exam of this length, too.
Previously deployed in Haiti, the plan now for SVOne, according to Smart Vision Labs’ CEO, Yaopeng Zhou, is to get it to the people who need it — “we are on a mission to solve the global vision challenge.” I, for one, wish them all the best in doing so.
You can read more about the technology used in the SVOne on Smart Vision Labs’ website.
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