Kavya Kopparapu, a 16 year old student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia, has invented a 3D printed device that can detect signs of degenerative eye disease.
The device works with an AI smartphone app. Kopparapu and her team digitally trained the Eyeagnosis package which is intended to be a cheaper, more accessible eye care alternative for patients with diabetes.
A fast-acting diagnosis to prevent blindness
Development of Eyeagnosis started when Kopparapu’s grandfather began exhibiting symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in his eye.
The disease, which affects around one third of diabetics worldwide, causes degeneration of blood vessels in the retina. If untreated severe cases can also cause blindness.
Looking for a solution to provide fast-acting diagnosis with bare-minimum equipment, Kopparapu, her 15-year-old brother Neeyanth, and high school classmate Justin Zhang, decided to put their computer science knowledge to the test.
Teaching smartphones to read the retina
The 3D printed device created by the team is a frame designed to fit comfortably on the back of a typical smartphone.
With a lens to focus the light from a phone camera’s flash, the device works the same as an eye-doctor’s pen torch – illuminating the retina at the back of the eye.
A photo is taken of the retina, and it is run through the Eyeagnosis app.
The app was trained to detect symptoms by Kopparapu and her team using image data from the NIH National Eye Institute’s eyeGENE database.
The finished device has since been tested by Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital in Mumbai that proved the package is able to diagnose with accuracy of a human ophthalmologist.
Tools to create change
Ever the innovator, Kopparapu has gone on to establish her own nonprofit organization, GirlsComputingLeague, teaching coding to underprivileged children.
The work of her and her team is an inspiring example of how technology is providing people with the tools necessary to create change around the globe.
Nonprofit organization e-Nable is one project using 3D printing to reduce the cost of prosthesis. A recent project by Printlab and Free_D is also helping to bring skilled work to survivors of human trafficking in India.
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Featured image: Kavya Kopparapu the 16 year old non profit leader, innovator and inventor of Eyeagnosis. Photo via Compscikavya, Kopparapu’s blog, on WordPress