Visually Impaired Woman Works With Physicist to Create Mobile Version of Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope

March 22, 2009

Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, is legally blind in one eye and partially blind in the other. During a trip to the optometrist some 20 years ago, Goldring was examined with a Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (SLO). During the test, which uses an infrared laser to shine an image onto the retina, she found she was able to read. Goldring yearned to have one of the machines for everyday use, but at $100,000 per unit, the dream remained just that.

However, as recently reported in Popular Mechanics, Goldring persisted, and working with Robert Webb, a physicist and inventor of the SLO, she has created a mobile version of the device called the Retinal Imaging Machine Vision System. The new device substitutes LEDs for the costly laser to illuminate a screen that focuses visual data from a computer or camera as a full image onto the retina.

The duo’s latest prototype is a nondescript, 5-in.-wide box with a digital camera attached. By manipulating the camera’s zoom, Goldring is able to recognize faces and distinguish objects. Further testing of the device is planned at the Joslin Diabetes Center Eye Institute in Boston.

Read the full article in Popular Mechanics.




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One Response to “Visually Impaired Woman Works With Physicist to Create Mobile Version of Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope”

  • I visited Bob Webb when he first was working on the SLO and I wrote it up in an article that appeared in the old version of Ophthalmology Management.

    Here’s a description of the writeup and a link to it on my online Journal:

    I Can See Clearly Now: The High Tech Look of the Future; Ophthalmology Management, February 1991.

    This column describes my first look at the scanning laser ophthalmoscope, developed at the Eye Research Institute in Boston, and also confocal microscopy as demonstrated by Dwight Cavanaugh at a research symposium.

    Irv Arons