Teen Invents AI System To Diagnose Eye Disease

The new generation of innovators is getting younger by the decade. If a thirteen-year-old can generate clean energy from traffic, what more can other kids do? Apparently this high school junior invented an artificial intelligence system to diagnose her grandfather’s eye disease.

Eyeagnosis [is] a smartphone app plus 3D-printed lens that seeks to change the diagnostic procedure from a 2-hour exam requiring a multi-thousand-dollar retinal imager to a quick photo snap with a phone.

[Kavya] Kopparapu and her team… trained an artificial intelligence system to recognize signs of diabetic retinopathy in photos of eyes and offer a preliminary diagnosis.

Medical jargon aside, the device would make testing more efficient and accessible. Kopparapu is also passionate about empowering young girls interested in computer science. She not only founded the Girls Computing League, she regularly hosts coding workshops for marginalized kids.

In order to create Eyeagnosis, Kopparapu did a lot of Googling and contacted numerous experts. She then taught a retired system to do the work.

In November, she shipped her first 3D-printed prototype for the system’s lens to the hospital. When fitted onto a smartphone, the lens focuses the phone’s diffuse, off-centered flash to best illuminate a retina. The complete Eyeagnosis system has already been tried on five patients at the hospital, and in each case it made an accurate diagnosis.

It may be intimidating to the older, non-techie generation, but the world of science could use more kids like Kopparapu.

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Bionic Eye Helps Blind Mother To See

A few months ago, Oxford student Vanessa Restrepo-Schild patented the world’s first synthetic retina. Researchers from the University of Washington then added fish eyes into the mix, to help cure blindness. Now, the most recent success for the vision-impaired is a bionic eye, which helped a blind mother to see for the first time in years.

The device consists of a camera that is attached to glasses and connected to a chip grafted onto the retina of the eye.

The images captured by the camera are converted into a series of electrical pulses that are transmitted to the chip.

The prosthesis, Argus II, doesn’t fully restore vision, but restores something far more important — the ability to perform everyday tasks.

“Without my Argus, I see nothing. With him, I see, yes, in a different way, but it gives me a lot of hope,” [said patient Sandra Cassell]

It’s not a complete cure, but Argus II is an easy fix and one that will certainly change lives.

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Fish Eyes Are Being Used To Cure Blindness

Treatments for the seeing-impaired are not always easy to come by. That’s why we make do with technology like talking cameras that allow the blind to “see.” However, a new study shows that mimicking fish eyes could potentially cure blindness.

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle reported that they have hacked the cells of a mouse retina to act like those of a fish—not only growing new neurons, but also wiring those neurons up to other neurons that send signals to the brain.

While surgery can treat cataracts, retina damage is incurable — but not for zebrafish. Their eyes regenerate indefinitely, assisted by a cell called Müller glia. The cell acts as a “stand in” for lost neurons. Humans also carry the cell but due to differences in DNA, cannot access this reprogrammable characteristic.

[UW Researchers found] Trichostatin-A (TSA), a hormonal treatment for breast cancer, that also happens to open up the regeneration DNA sequence. In an injured retina, these Müller glia cells treated with TSA transformed into two types of neurons, bipolar and amacrine cells, that are part of the retina’s internal wiring.

Scientists have yet to produce photoreceptor neurons, but with the way things are going, creating them is very possible.

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Artificial Vision: The World’s First Synthetic Retina

Throughout the years, there have been quite a number of breakthroughs in the areas of health and science. With the help of in-ear aids, the previously deaf have the ability to ear. Those who’ve experienced the loss of a limb can function with the use of prosthetics. While extensive surgeries have attempted to aid the blind, only recently has there been a development in assistance for the visually impaired. An Oxford student has successfully created a synthetic retina.

The study could revolutionize the bionic implant industry and the development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.

[Oxford student] Vanessa Restrepo-Schild led the team in the development of a new synthetic, double layered retina which closely mimics the natural human retinal process.

Miss Restrepo-Schild said: … “I hope my research is the first step in a journey towards building technology that is soft and biodegradable instead of hard and wasteful.”

Miss Restrepo-Schild has filed a patent for the technology and the next phase of the work will see the Oxford team expand the replica’s function to include recognizing different colors.

Further testing and clinical trials will resume in the near future. Research regarding the human body continues to improve economically and in efficiency.

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