To reanalyze and introduce breakthrough designs and approach in Ophthalmology L V Prasad Eye Institute and Camera Culture group (MIT) in collaboration with MIT Media Lab and Tata Centre for Technology and Design at MIT and funded through the support of Infotech Enterprises Charitable Trust (IECT), today launched the LVPEI-MITRA Program to initiate Srujana: Innovation@LVPEI. His Excellency, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (former President of India) inaugurated the new innovation centre and interacted with the students who are working on prototypes of their innovations at the ongoing pre-inauguration event workshop, from which a few will be pursued to productization. Faculty of LVPEI and the Camera Culture group MIT Media Lab were mentors for the participants, channeling their energy to work on problems broadly divided into four streams: imaging the eye, applications and algorithms, programming perception and reinventing vision. To achieve the goal of setting up a center for innovation, LVPEI sought active partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at Cambridge, USA, a world-renowned institute for developing high impact technologies.
Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Founder-Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute said, “The genesis of the Innovation Centre was from ‘Engineering The Eye’, the Innovation Workshop held in July 2013 with MIT Media Lab, for which L V Prasad Eye Institute was the ophthalmology partner. Tata Centre for Technology and Design at MIT, BITS Pilani: Hyderabad and Perkins School for the Blind were the other partners of the workshop. Scientists from MIT formed the technology engines for making the prototypes a reality. More importantly, the workshop culminated with a realization that the combination of clinicians, engineers and designers would form a formidable force that can successfully address several eye care problems in developing nations. The center for innovation at LVPEI was conceived to continue the impetus created by this workshop.” Offering the best quality of eye care to patients relies on cutting-edge technology for early diagnosis, efficient treatment and management of eye pathologies. “Making this opportunity available to all people, independent of their socio-economic status and geographic location, would mean that we make the cutting-edge technology simpler, more accessible and affordable. This also means novel, out-of-the-box technology solutions that are unique to a developing nation’s ecosystem. Innovation is the application of such solutions to meet new and existing needs,” added Dr. Rao. While India is considered one of the most powerful places for innovation, it has also been observed that we lack infrastructural support as per Bruche, the Journal of competition and change, 2009. To overcome this barrier of unavailability of infrastructure, to meet the social responsibility of knowledge dissemination and for the development of tools in ophthalmology, LVPEI proposed to establish an Innovation Hub for ophthalmology. This is an initiative towards fulfilling the mission of the Institute to create a system for nurturing innovation in ophthalmology to make quality eye care equitable and accessible.
“After the in-house evaluation, if a product is considered suitable, support for creating a business model and intellectual property shall be provided to the inventors. All the projects and some ideas may not have a commercial aspect but the innovation centre will help them to understand the science and improvise their skills so that they can be a better professional. We intend to develop this place as a hub where people can come and work with a free and open mind,” said Ramesh Raskar, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT Media Lab. The centre will support the ideas and will share the technical as well as domain knowledge with the participants so as to disseminate the knowledge and developments at the innovation centre. The innovation centre will work as a hub for the development of new practices, tools and capabilities. The domain expertise will help in the value enhancement of the product or technologies so that it can be used in clinics.
About L V Prasad Eye Institute and MIT India Initiatives The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1986-87 at Hyderabad as a not-for-profit, non-government, public-spirited, comprehensive eye care institution. For more information, visit www.lvpei.org
Hyderabad Initiatives: http://india.media.mit.edu/diy/
India HealthTech initiatives: http://mitindia.info