Srujana: Innovation @ LVPEI

Hyderabad, October 25, 2013: L V Prasad Eye Institute and Camera Culture group at MIT Media Lab funded through the support of Infotech Enterprises Endowment for Innovation in Eye Care, today launched the LVPEI-MITRA Program to initiate Srujana.

To reanalyze and introduce breakthrough designs and approach in Ophthalmology

Hyderabad, October 25, 2013: L V Prasad Eye Institute and Camera Culture group at MIT Media Lab funded through the support of Infotech Enterprises Endowment for Innovation in Eye Care, 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, to develop eye care solutions for high impact in India and around the world.

Faculty of LVPEI and the Camera Culture group MIT Media Lab were mentors for the participants, channelizing 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 established active partnership with the Camera Culture group at MIT Media Lab, 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.

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.

Infotech Enterprises Charitable Trust (IECT), the CSR arm of Infotech has come forward to support LVPEI's new innovation centre with a grant of Rs 2.5 crores to be disbursed over the next 5 years. Speaking on the occasion, Mr B V R Mohan Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director, Infotech Enterprises Limited said, "Infotech fulfils its Corporate Social Responsibility through various initiatives undertaken by Infotech Enterprises Charitable Trust (IECT). So far we were promoting primary education to children who live below the poverty line. We are now expanding our focus on to initiatives that have high social impact. While Innovation@Infotech is high priority corporate objective, we feel delighted that we are participating in Eye Care Innovation by partnering with LVPEI."

Students in engineering, arts, design and medical science have new ideas but the traditional infrastructure does not support the student to experiment with their ideas. "Our innovation centre 'Srujana' is going to provide infrastructural support to the students who sincerely want to pursue their ideas, especially in Ophthalmology and related fields. Through a proper screening, we will allow the students to come and work on their individual pursuits with full infrastructural support in terms of equipment, consumables, technical guidance and domain knowledge said, Dr Virender Sangwan, Director - SRUJANA Centre for Innovation, Centre for Regenerative Ophthalmology and Clinical Research, L V Prasad Eye Institute.

"My team has been building solutions like eyeNETRA (measuring eyeglass refraction), eyeCATRA (cataract detection) and recently eyeMITRA (retinal image capture and analysis), and so far have collaborated with LVPEI remotely. We realized that novel solutions for eye diagnostics require a very multidisciplinary approach. There are millions in developing countries without care because the technology created for the developed world doesn't apply. At the new LVPEI-MITRA center, we would like to fuse the MIT team's engineering and design talent with the deep clinical expertise of LVPEI via a design-at-scale paradigm with hundreds of Indian students as key contributors. By 'designing in context', co-locating technology and clinical talent, we feel creative thinking and real world impact can be brought closer together. Engineers and designers are unaware of this unmet need that can change the lives of millions of people in developing countries. Via clinical trials and rapid prototyping, we hope we can promote entrepreneurship and achieve a real world impact," 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
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. LVPEI is governed by two trusts: the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. The Institute is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative. LVPEI has six active arms to its areas of operations namely Clinical Services, Education, Research, Rehabilitation and Sight Enhancement Services, Eye Bank, and Public Health and Rural Outreach. For more information, visit www.lvpei.org

For further information, please contact:
Dr Sreedevi Yadavalli
Associate Director and Head - Communications
Tel: +91 040 23547254, +91 040 30612555
Email: ysreedevi@lvpei.org


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