While 3D printing and those who create and use it for incredible applications are busy transforming an already modern and progressive world, much of the technology’s key impacts are also found happening in developing countries. There, a growing number of 3D printed items are able to assist in furthering self-sustainability, including numerous different devices connected to the medical field, from helping with procedures to diagnosing illnesses and conditions.
While we’ve covered miracles including everything from bionic 3D printed eyes to myriad 3D printed glasses, some of those innovations may now even be unnecessary with the latest mobile app that allows for eye exams and preventative medicine to be conducted in remote areas. This latest technology is called Peek.
Developed by British ophthalmologists, the Portable Eye Examination Kit app works via a smart camera with a 3D printed adapter. In hopes to prevent blindness in areas where diagnoses have before been impossible, the ophthalmologists behind the device were motivated to help those who, with possible earlier intervention or medical procedures, do not have to suffer debilitating loss of sight and a lower quality of life.
“The main reason for most people not getting eye treatment is simply that they don’t access the services and that’s usually because the services are so far away from them or are unaffordable,” project leader Andrew Bastawrous was quoted as saying by BBC.
“If we can detect people with blindness beforehand, we have a much greater chance of increasing awareness and ensuring an appropriate treatment.”
The app, once again showing how technology is taking traditional processes as we know them and completely streamlining them, works in the same vein as the chart we’re all familiar with; however, the concept is a little different and a lot more efficient as it shows a shrinking letter on the screen. Even more incredibly fine-tuned, the app allows for the use of flash and focus so that medical professionals or healthcare workers involved in a health clinic scenario can actually examine the retina, viewing it with high-quality imaging, while in the field.
It also diagnoses and classifies cataracts, simulates eyesight on the screen, and offers color and contrast tests.
With 80 percent of blindness being avoidable with healthcare, it’s easy to see why it’s so important and motivating to scientists and doctors to try and find ways to help those in areas where they don’t have access to the proper healthcare. The Peek device basically allows medical professionals to take a high performance eye exam with them in their pocket, whether they are in the city or in an isolated portion of the world with hospitals and medical offices only found at distances too great for most locals to travel.
“As a social enterprise we are empowering all health workers by providing portable tools to help detect avoidable blindness,” states the Peek team on their website.
As is the extra bonus that usually accompanies 3D printed devices and parts, affordability allows great potential for use and accessibility. The Peek should cost exponentially less, at around several hundred dollars. Traditional eye equipment costs into the thousands. Data is easily shared with experts, while patient information is kept secure.
The device is an all around win-win for everyone as it will help diagnose and prevent eye disease and dysfunction, as well as being so user-friendly that those employed to remote areas can easily learn to use the smart app as a tool.
Have you seen any other apps similar to this that correspond with a medical device? How do you see 3D printing changing the way developing countries function? Discuss in the The Peek Smart App Eye Exam forum over at 3DPB.com.