Medical advances don’t have to be dramatic. Even small changes can save lives. Take an app that uses an iPhone camera to determine if an artery is healthy enough to accept the catheter needed to restore blood flow to a patent’s heart. It’s still experimental, but is significantly better than the current method.
Here’s another way the iPhone is revolutionizing medicine — it’s now a cheap, portable tool for detecting cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed Catra, a cheap plastic lens that clips onto the iPhone’s screen. Using a simple vision test, the Catra software creates a map of cloudy areas that may indicate the onset of cataracts.
The Catra software can provide a diagnosis within minutes and requires no training. It also works on the iPod touch and other smartphones. It’ll be a boon for use in developing nations, the researchers say.
Below is a video explaining how it works. Catra will be shown off at Siggraph in Vancouver next month.