Samsung is reusing old Galaxy phones for medical exams


Samsung uses older Galaxy smartphones in conjunction with a special camera for mobile eye exams in developing and emerging countries. The leaked cell phones are not only used to take pictures, but are also supposed to analyze the photos in order to detect eye diseases. This means that medical examinations are much cheaper and easier to carry out than at an ophthalmologist.

According to Samsung, the Eyelike fundus camera together with the reused Galaxy smartphones already used in Vietnam, India, Morocco and Papua New Guinea. There, patients are examined with this diagnostic camera for diseases that can lead to blindness, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

EYELIKE fundus camera displays at Samsung Developer Conference 2019
(Image: Samsung)

While the attached camera lens can capture the fundus, the cell phone saves the images. According to Samsung, these are analyzed directly on the smartphone using artificial intelligence methods for an initial diagnosis. A connected app then suggests treatment methods.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.2 billion people have some form of visual impairment. Almost half of these cases were preventable or still need treatment. As part of the “Galaxy Upcycling Program” with reused smartphones, Samsung wants to address around one billion of these cases of visual impairment.

That’s not new. At the beginning of 2019, the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) declared that Eye exams with a modified cell phone camera can be carried out. Serious eye diseases should be recognized and treated early in this way. This should primarily benefit people in emerging and developing countries.

Use in Germany is also conceivable. The DOG explained that the great advantages of this method are the low acquisition costs for the devices and the high mobility. In nursing homes or rural areas, bedridden patients may find it easier to examine their eyes. According to the DOG, the recorded images should then be sent to an eye clinic for viewing and assessment.


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