Open-source retinal camera a ‘disruptor’

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A New Zealand company that created a set of inexpensive, open-source smartphone devices to take photos of the human retina has once again received critical acclaim.

oDocs Eye Care was named the Most Innovative Mobile Technology Company at the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards recently, just months after they won over judges Sir Richard Branson and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at the Talent Unleashed Awards (TUA) – a global competition that rewards innovation and revolutionary businesses.

At the time, Wozniak said, “this is how disruption is done,” in reference to the company’s retinal imaging adapter, also known as visoScope. When attached to an iPhone, the device converts the phone into a retinal camera, while another oDocs product, the visoClip, is essentially a smartphone slit lamp microscope.

Company representatives have promised to keep the inventions open-source to ensure the products remain affordable and accessible, and will also donate 10% of the profit from every item sold, to charity.

“We have made them extremely affordable and accessible to benefit regions most in need. Conventional equipment would cost around US$20,000–30,000 (AU$27,000–40,000), whereas our devices cost a hundredth of that,” business co-founder Dr Hong Sheng Chiong said.

The open-source devices are also compatible with 3D printing and additive manufacturing. This allows clinicians are to save both time and money as they can simply download the files and 3D print the eye equipment locally.