Global health is a challenge of scale. Oftentimes we wonder who takes on these types of problems, and the amorphous THEY have traditionally accepted the burden of responsibility. Is there a gigantic effort to systematically solve global healthcare? Who are THEY?

The unfortunate truth is that comprehensive and innovative approaches to addressing the complex global health landscape just don’t exist, but Ramesh Raskar’s group at the MIT Media Lab is looking to change that. In September, students from a diverse set of departments at MIT met at the “Engineering Health” class to discuss with doctors and clinical practitioners about what kind of challenges they face on a daily basis. Over the next three months, students worked with technical and clinical mentors to demonstrate the incredible transition from physician’s dream to working prototype.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 12.06.40 PM

To wrap up the semester, Doctors, Entrepreneurs, and Engineers all gathered to watch the MIT students present their solutions in the historic Bartos theatre at the MIT Media Lab. Designs were not merely constructed to impress the audience, they were deployment centric from the outset, and many groups stated their desire to continue working on their project. A pipeline is in place and we watched that vision come to fruition. In a parallel effort with Ramesh’s group, some students will travel to Mumbai at the end of January to further refine their designs.

The teams seemed to challenge the audience: What if doctors could spend less time being being medical device technicians and more time treating patients? The teams think that would change medicine for the better.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 12.07.22 PM

Meet the innovators.


Detecting skin cancer on a large scale.

Reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies would lower costs, hasten diagnosis, and enable more routine evaluation, especially in resource constrained communities. MDSpec uses a mobile phone’s processor to evaluate a signal known to indicate the presence of cancerous tissue, allowing instant feedback about the status of potentially cancerous skin lesions.

Athena Breast Pump

Women don’t use breast pumps when they should.

Breast pumps are not smart devices. The Athena breast pump’s goal is to eliminate discomfort using technology, allowing mothers to deliver the best possible nutrition for their infants.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 12.07.59 PM

Smart Toilet

We are missing out on a wealth of invaluable health data.

Health on the scale of cities. If there was a way to seamlessly access potential biological data without weirding us out, society stands to benefit greatly. Viruses could be tracked in real time, and cancers could be detected earlier than ever before. Smart Toilet solves the interface problem, inconspicuously bringing the lab into the home.


Ear infection identification without waiting in line at the clinic.

A new type of eardrum imaging that uses clever illumination methods to create 3D models of the eardrum to identify ear infections and other ear problems.


Monitoring the stress of patients in the ICU 24/7.

Using a simple modification to existing web cameras, we can monitoring vital signs from a video feed automatically, ensuring the safety of patients in the ICU. Monitor stress levels and alert the nurse if a patient needs attention.

Anterior Segment Ocular Imaging

Comprehensive eye exams are too expensive.

Replacing mechanical complexity with solid state innovation, the ASOI uses a type of projection technology to produce patterns on the front of the eye useful for diagnosis of an entire class of eye conditions.


Bubbles are hard to remove in automatic injection systems.

Ever see your doctor flick bubbles from the side of a syringe before injection? Those bubbles are dangerous! The Debubbler is an automatic way to remove bubbles even a manual flick has trouble dislodging. Perfect for automated injection devices, and people untrained in the art of the flick.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 12.08.39 PM


Comprehensive, modern solution for listening to the chest.

Medicine has changed in major ways in the last hundred years, but the staple tool – the stethoscope – has hardly changed at all. ASCUL is a stethoscope array, it uses many stethoscopes together to record the signals from your chest and provide a sonic map of breathing patterns and heartbeats. ASCUL could allow untrained users to obtain a diagnosis only a doctor could provide previously.

Learn More:

The Class:

Stay in Touch:


1 2 3
September 13th, 2016

Ramesh Raskar Lemelson-MIT 2016 Winner

Congratulations to Professor Ramesh Raskar and the Camera Culture Group  – Winner of the 2016 Lemelson-MIT prize Ramesh Raskar and […]

September 8th, 2016

Can computers read through a book page by page without opening it?

Terahertz time-gated spectral imaging for content extraction through layered structures A. R. Sanchez, B. Heshmat*, A. Aghasi, M. Zhang, S. […]

November 21st, 2018

Society of Autonomous Vehicles – Part 1

This is part 1 of a multi-part blog series about the Society of Autonomous Vehicles course held in Spring of […]

March 20th, 2018

Seeing Through Realistic Fog

A technique to see through dense, dynamic, and heterogeneous fog conditions. The technique, based on visible light, uses hardware that […]

March 29th, 2017

Efficient Lensless Imaging with a Femto-Pixel

Lensless Imaging with Compressive Ultrafast Sensing Guy Satat, Matthew Tancik, Ramesh Raskar Traditional cameras require a lens and a mega-pixel […]

September 28th, 2016

How to see through tissue

All Photons Imaging Through Volumetric Scattering Guy Satat, Barmak Heshmat, Dan Raviv, Ramesh Raskar We demonstrate a new method that […]

September 12th, 2016

The World is Our Lab

by Roger Archibald Photo credit: John Werner Ramesh Raskar, head of the Media Lab’s Camera Culture Group, takes measure of […]

March 27th, 2016

Handheld 3D Imager to visualize features in the throat like tonsils!

3D visualization of oral cavity and oropharyngeal anatomy may play an important role in the evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea […]

February 24th, 2016

How to use computer vision to improve cities

– Nikhil Naik Transcript from TEDx Beacon Street November, 2015 Here we see a picture of a little girl walking […]

February 12th, 2016

Optical Brush

Optical brush is an open-ended bundle of optical fibers that is enabled with time of flight technology to image and […]

December 3rd, 2015

Innovating for Billions – Ramesh Raskar’s UIST Keynote

28th ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium Charlotte, NC November 8-11, 2015 Watch the presentation on Youtube HERE Keynote […]

December 2nd, 2015

Making 3-D imaging 1,000 times better

Algorithms exploiting light’s polarization boost resolution of commercial depth sensors 1,000-fold. See MIT coverage here. Read more about the work […]

November 26th, 2015

Engineering Health Class Final Presentations on 4 Dec

Great projects and demos- wearables, 3D imaging, novel stethoscopes, imaging the eye, oral imaging.  Followed by health night with guest […]

November 2nd, 2015

Engineering Health Class featured in Medtech

Our Engineering Health class was featured in Medtech Boston. Read the full article here.

October 26th, 2015

OPEN POSITIONS: Technical Assistants

Technical Assistant # 1 Date: December-4-2015 The Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab focuses on making the invisible […]

October 15th, 2015

Time-of-Flight Microwave Camera to See Through Walls

New Camera Culture research in Nature Scientific Reports shows a prototype time of flight camera working at microwave frequencies. In […]

September 30th, 2015

How to Make a City Smart? The Indian Context

By: Pranav Chandrasekaran   Introduction – by Ramesh Raskar, Associate Professor Media Arts and Sciences, Head of the Camera Culture […]

September 11th, 2015

Kumbh Mela – The World’s Largest Moving City

Kumbh Mela in Nashik Article and Photography by John Werner   “The world’s largest city has no permanent address.”   […]

September 8th, 2015

Engineering Health Fall 2015 Course

MAS.S62: Join us for the first class on Friday, 11 Sept, 1-4 pm in E15-341(Click to go to class webpage)

June 26th, 2015

Vahe Tahmazyan Graduates with Best Thesis