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Subspecialties Neuro-ophthalmology, Imaging & Diagnostics, Basic & Translational Research, Business and Innovation

Eye Spy

A research group from the University of California in San Diego, US, is pushing the functionality of smartphones through an application that turns the phone’s native technology into a pupillometer (1).

Specifically, the team repurposed facial recognition technology, which uses a front-facing near-infrared camera, alongside the “selfie” camera to track pupil size changes with sub-millimeter accuracy – measurements that could one day be used as digital biomarkers for neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and ADHD.

By developing an app that turns most smartphones into a cheap and accessible pupillometer, the team is paving the way for more large-scale community screenings, which could not only aid in detection but also improve our understanding of neurological disease.

With a certain demographic in mind, the researchers incorporated features to help make the app as user friendly as possible. The team is also working on development of a version of the app that works on smartphones without facial recognition technology to further increase access to pupillometry.

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  1. C Barry et al., CHI ’22, 235, 1 (2022). DOI: 10.1145/3491102.3502493.
About the Author
Jed Boye

Associate Editor, The Ophthalmologist

I have always been fascinated by stories. During my biomedical sciences degree, though I enjoyed wet lab sessions, I was truly in my element when sitting down to write up my results and find the stories within the data. Working at Texere gives me the opportunity to delve into a plethora of interesting stories, sharing them with a wide audience as I go.

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