A team of technology students will represent the UK in a major international software competition after developing a mobile "app" that can help to spot the early signs of sight loss.
The team has already won first place in the UK final of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Design Competition after receiving support from Sunderland Software City to develop its idea, and will now compete in the worldwide finals in Australia next month.
"Team Eyeworks" consists of Riccardo Viglianisi, Faizan Asghar and Vimansha Weyhenage from Northumbria University's School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) and Colin Squires from Newcastle College (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK).
Recent studies have highlighted the fact that of the two million people living with various degrees of sight loss in the UK, 50 per cent could have been prevented. Team Eyeworks' mobile app aims to address that issue by identifying early stages of disease.
The app works by taking a picture of the user’s retina, which is then compared to a library of images containing retinal abnormalities, all of which are based on the Microsoft Azure online cloud. The images are then analyzed to give a probability of infection.
As there is no mobile device on the market with a suitable camera and lens package, the students are currently developing a lens attachment, as well as a chin rest and camera stand. With plans to get the product out to market following the worldwide finals, the team is also looking to develop the technology for other medical fields, including the detection of skin disorders.
Winning at the worldwide finals, which take place between July 6-10, would see the team pick up a top prize of over £15,000.
More details on the system can be found here.
-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design