Jun 2, 2015 | By Alec

While we come across so many interesting 3D printed applications, the ones with the greatest impact are surely those that help doctors, save lives and improve the quality of life of the poor and underprivileged. And in that respect, the 3D printed Peek – short for the Portable Eye Examination Kit – developed by a team of British ophthalmologists, is a fantastic innovation. Perfect for use in third world countries and remote locations far from medical help, this kit essentially consists of a 3D printed add-on for smart phones that can be used to treat preventable blindness.

It’s a fantastic concept that was fortunately successfully funded through an Indiegogo campaign last month, gathering a very impressive £130,475 (or approximately $200,000). Thanks to this successful backing, the Peek can now also be pre-ordered by doctors here.

This project has been devised by Andrew Bastawrous, Stewart Jordan, Kate Tarling and Mario Giardini, and as Dr. Bastawrous explained in a recent TED Talk, it has the potential to help more than 39 million people around the world who lack access to basic optical healthcare. ‘80% of this blindness is avoidable, but in many regions people don't have access to eye care,’ the team wrote on their Indiegogo campaign at the time. Think about eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma and others.

Dr. Bastawrous talking about the Peek.

While equipment for diagnosing such diseases already exist, they are heavy, expensive, fragile and require extensive training – not at all suitable for use in remote regions without proper electricity. And that’s exactly where the 3D printed Peek Retina comes in. ‘It’s a clip-on camera adapter that gives high quality images of the back of the eye and the retina. This helps us to diagnose eye diseases, ready for treatment. Peek Retina combines both a traditional ophthalmoscope and a retinal camera in a mobile phone, providing a portable, affordable and easy way to carry out comprehensive examinations,’ they wrote. Suitable for just about every smartphone, it’s an excellent 3D printed solution.

Quality of the images Peek is able to make.

Due to extensive testing and prototyping, this 3D printed smartphone adaptor should be ready for use in October of this year, though more field studies are planned in countries as Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya. However, earlier tests have already produced excellent results. ‘These trials not only scientifically validate the quality of images Peek provides in comparison studies, but make sure it works effectively in the context of specific locations, the local healthcare system and for both novice and expert users.’ It just another example that proves that 3D printing isn’t just about toys and fun, but also about lives and the quality of life everywhere. If you would like to order a Peek as a doctor, go to the team’s website here.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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