Bresslergroup's engineers recently completed work on Spot, a hand-held vision-screening device that represents the first real change in vision screening in 150 years.
Vision disability is the single most preventable disabling condition among school-age children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 80 percent of what children learn in their early school years is visual, so if they can't see a teacher's writing on the blackboard, they will struggle.
For almost 150 years, vision screening has involved a child standing in front of an eye chart while a doctor or nurse asks which letters he or she can identify. While this method works, it requires lots of time and trained professionals.
Bresslergroup and their client PediaVision collaborated to conceive the initial design concepts of Spot to address this disability early, making screening quicker, easier and more accurate than the current standard of vision screening. The WiFi enabled handheld device makes vision screening as easy as taking a photo and Spot's touchscreen interface clearly displays results accurately and instantly. It can be used with children as young as 6 months old.
Spot quickly detects indications of several possible vision issues in children, including near-sightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, but also can identify indications of possible amblyopic precursors, which left untreated can lead to blindness. The device utilizes high-end optics and infrared light scanning combined with sophisticated software algorithms to quickly scan children or adults. "But for the user, the sophisticated engineering is masked by a very user-friendly interface. Spot looks and feels like a camera," noted Andrew Weiman, Partner and Director of Engineering at Bresslergroup.
The simplified user interface was critical to user acceptance. A high percentage of Spot users are adult volunteers, part of a school or community vision-screening event for kids. These free events provide important early detection, particularly critical in low-income neighborhoods. Using the Spot device, an adult staff member or volunteer can screen about 60 students per hour.