Peek Vision – The Gift of Sight. By John Haine, u-blox
John Haine puts the spotlight on Peek, a the Portable Eye Examination Kit that makes eye tests affordable and easy anywhere in the world.
I got an email last week from Andrew Bastawrous of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and also leading light of Peek Vision. It reminded me of his presentation at this year’s conference where I had the privilege of organising a session on “Wireless for People” as part of our overall theme of “Changing the World”. He spoke about the way that they are using a simple gadget that clips on a smartphone in combination with apps and mobile technology, to bring 21st century eye care to remote rural areas in Africa, harnessing eye specialists all over the world to make diagnoses using the Internet.
Now in my career I have been to a lot of mobile conferences, and yawned my way through many a tedious paper* on how mobile will transform the world. I can only say that Andrew’s presentation was the real deal, an inspiring account of how this technology we have all played a part in developing as a consumer toy, really is changing lives, bringing the gift of sight to people whose lives are blighted by diseases that in the developed world hardly bother most of us. And what was even more telling is that the technology is so simple, a gadget that can be made using a 3D printer for a few dollars, and pushed by the desire to make lives better, not to make a buck. Isn’t it strange: first we make phones so people can talk to each-other and they become a consumer must-have. Then ingenious makers start adding gizmos to differentiate them and maybe even earn a bit more revenue for the operators, and after a while every self-respecting phone just has to have a camera. Now the camera-phone is ubiquitous, taking billions of selfies and shots of hamburgers and other more-or-less disposable pictures every day. But that means there is a capability out there, which ingenious and motivated people can pick up and use in ways we never anticipated to make life better. What will we think of next? Is this a signpost to the future of wireless?
So now Andrew and his colleagues are taking their first prototypes to the next stage, raising money by crowd-sourcing to get to volume production. So please, visit http://www.peekvision.org/ to learn more about their project, and if you are as inspired as I was follow the link to their indiegogo page and donate.
About The Author
John Haine is RF Technology Innovation Coordinator, u-blox AG
Find him on Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/john–haine/1/63b/586
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