Samsung Using Old Galaxy Smartphones To Detect Eye Diseases: Find Out How?

The world’s top smartphone maker Samsung is currently working on the improving the access to quality healthcare and bring more awareness and improve knowledge on eye health in far-flung areas of the country, and they believe that their smartphone can do so!

Samsung Using Old Galaxy Smartphones To Detect Eye Diseases: Find Out How?

Read the story to know more!

Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling Programme

Samsung is claiming that their older Galaxy smartphones can be used as eyelike handheld fundus camera, which connects to a lens attachment to provide an enhanced fundus diagnosis.

These images are then process in the artificial intelligence (AI) system, after which they are sent to an app that captures patient data and suggests the next course of action.

On the World Sight Day, Mohan Rao Goli, Corporate VP and CTO, Samsung Research Institute, Bengaluru (SRI-B) said that the “The Galaxy upcycling programme not only gives a new life to some of our older Galaxy smartphones by repurposing them into useful devices but they can also be used as diagnoses cameras to screen patients for conditions like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration”.

Introduced in 2017 in South Korea by Samsung, the programme was then expanded to its Galaxy Upcycling programme to six countries, including India.

The company has partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) in Korea and LabSD for the Galaxy Upcycling programme.

How Will it Work?

As per Mr. Goli, Samsung’s partners provide the handheld lens while Samsung offers its older Galaxy smartphones with built-in software. Samsung’s R&D Bengaluru has been involved in developing the fundus image capture mechanism and AI-based algorithms for the camera.

While explaining the entire process, he said that “You connect the lens attachment for enhanced fundus diagnosis while the smartphone is used for capturing the images. The Galaxy device then utilises AI algorithms and analyses the images to diagnose ophthalmic diseases. The data captured by the phone then sync with the mobile app, which suggests if the patient needs any further treatment”.

Speaking to the developments in our country, the smartphone maker has partnered with Sitapur Eye Hospital in Uttar Pradesh, Aravind Eye Hospital in Puducherry, Guruhasti Chikitsalya in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi.

In India, speaking of today as many as 200 units of second-hand Galaxy smartphones have been upcycled and distributed Eyelike fundus cameras to its partners in India.

By the end of 2023, Samsung has set a target to screen 150,000 individuals in India for eye diseases using the Eyelike fundus cameras. 

Dr Madhu Bhadauria, CMO of Sitapur Eye Hospital while saying “Repurposing old smartphones into medical diagnosis cameras is filling the missing link between the last man and the healthcare provider”, meant that a smartphone can help break these barriers and provide access to quality eye care to many more people in rural parts of the country at a fraction of cost.

If you take the cost of conventional devices that take fundus images starts from Rs 10 lakh and goes up to Rs 60 lakh, revealed the doctor.

If the disease is diagnosed and treated early than the risk of severe vision is decreased. Having fundus images out of old smartphones means patients can be scanned at scale while also saving a lot of cost and time as only those people who require extensive care will be referred to a doctor.

She said that “A picture taken on a Samsung phone goes to a senior optometrist who’s in the speciality, one picture goes to the clinician and one picture goes to AI. At different levels, these pictures are being graded and then the final analysis will be done as to how effective the AI portion is”.

When it comes to the training of using this technology for a non-technical person, it would only take a week of training to understand how this smartphone-based fundus camera works.

“I would not say that the pictures are as good as one would get using traditional devices that take fundus images, but the quality is enough for a patient who is in a rural area and has no access to quality eye care. This will, at least, ensure that patients will be diagnosed on time and we can save them from blindness,” Bhadauria clarified.

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