Samsung Brings a Fundus Camera That Works With Older Galaxy Phones

Samsung on Wednesday introduced a device called the Eyelike fundus camera that is designed to transform older Galaxy smartphones into ophthalmic equipment that can help diagnose eye diseases. The new device is developed under the Galaxy Upcycling programme that aims to repurpose older Galaxy smartphones into medical diagnosis cameras. Samsung also expanded its Galaxy Upcycling programme to India as well as Vietnam, Morocco, and Papua New Guinea. The programme was introduced in South Korea back in 2017 to utilise older phones.

The Eyelike handheld fundus camera connects to a lens attachment and uses an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm on older Samsung Galaxy smartphones to analyse and diagnose the images for ophthalmic diseases. It connects to an app to capture patient data and suggest a treatment regimen.

Since the fundus camera uses an existing Galaxy smartphone as its brain for screening patients, it is touted to help offer diagnoses at a fraction of the cost of commercial instruments.

Samsung claims that the fundus camera can screen patients for conditions that may lead to blindness, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. The company has worked with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) in Korea to develop the device under its Galaxy Upcycling programme. Additionally, Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore (SRI-B) contributed to building the software for the fundus camera.

“The combination of using multiple optical technologies and artificial intelligence, coupled with camera performance of a Galaxy smartphone, created an affordable medical device that was just as capable as a fundus camera used by medical professionals. This not only solved a health issue, but a growing environmental concern as well,” said Dr. Sangchul Yoon of Yonsei University Health System, in a prepared statement.

The Eyelike fundus camera was first showcased at Samsung Developer Conference in 2019. It was prototyped in Vietnam in 2018 and since then, the device is claimed to have benefited more than 19,000 residents. In 2019, Samsung supplied 90 portable ophthalmoscopes to health professionals operating in remote regions of the country.

In addition to Vietnam, Samsung is expanding the Galaxy Upcycling programme to India, Morocco, and Papua New Guinea. The company is also broadening the capabilities of the medical camera development to new screening areas, including using upcycled Galaxy devices to create smartphone-based portable colposcopes to screen for cervical cancer and improve women’s accessibility to quality health care.

“This programme embodies Samsung’s belief that technology can enrich people’s lives and help us build a more equitable and sustainable future for all,” said Sung-Koo Kim, Vice President, Sustainability Management Office, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.

The Galaxy Upcycling programme is a part of Samsung’s commitment to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The company also in January brought the Galaxy Upcycling at Home that is meant to make older phones reusable as connected devices.

Is Samsung Galaxy S21+ the perfect flagship for most Indians? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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