The mission of EyeNetra is to reshape the world of eye diagnostics. With its technology, eye tests can now be performed by and for anyone in the comfort of his or her own home. The team was inspired by the poor user experience in traditional hospitals, especially in the developing world, and by the more than two billion people worldwide living with vision impairments.
How did you get started, and how has your work evolved?
We started in December of 2009 with NETRA (Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment), a low-cost clip-on for cell phones to measure refractive conditions. In 2010 we developed CATRA, a similar device to measure cataracts. In 2011 we developed tailored displays, a new kind of display that compensates for the user's vision condition, avoiding the need for eyeglasses.
In the course of these innovations, we have produced several papers, patents and grants. This past year, we established EyeNetra, the VC-backed company that is building and commercializing NETRA worldwide. We have collaborated with 29 research teams to extend our reach to 14 countries and have tested the eyes of over five hundred people in just the last six months.
How did the PSC play a role in your work?
The Public Service Center has supported us since the beginning: both NETRA and CATRA were IDEAS Global Challenge winners. The PSC also pushed us very hard to try our devices in the field, which was vital to our success. It seems obvious, but it is an extremely important step that students usually do not pay attention to. PSC awards were also very important in our initial fundraising round, giving our investors the confidence that experts on the developing world had looked at the technology and recognized its potential.
How has this work had a personal impact on you?
This work completely changed my life. I went from a standard publication-based lab scientist to a field-ready innovation builder. PSC ideals, values, and excitement have had, and will continue to have, a remarkable inﬂuence on my entire career.