Fraunhofer Portugal was granted a European patent (EP3695775A1) on a Smartphone-based handheld optical device and method for capturing non-mydriatic retinal images.
The solution created by researchers from Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, namely Filipe Soares and João Gonçalves, includes a device and an AI component related to image acquisition that uses image classification to detect if the camera is well positioned to capture the fundus of the retina. The technology was created with the aim of guiding non-specialists in the acquisition of good quality retinal images. By using an inertial sensor and infrared light, the system guides the user through simple instructions such as moving the camera closer or further away or slightly rotating the device. This is to ensure that the retina is correctly aligned.
The patent now approved was submitted in 2020 and is the result of multidisciplinary work by FhP-AICOS. In addition to the AI component created by the Intelligent Systems group, the development of the device also involved the Human-Centred Design team.
This invention was designed within a solution created to provide an indication of the presence of Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma, the EyeFundusScope.
"This patent protects the idea of incorporating multiple sensors, in addition to the image sensor, in the alignment and capture of retinal images. The technology has particular application in portable fundus cameras, simplifying the process of aligning the pupil in order to maximise the quality of the acquired retinal images even if the operator is not an expert technician. In this process the distance and angle of capture are fundamental, the patented technology thus allow to orientate the camera operator to the position of the pupil in real time."
"The patent can positively influence the capture of more and better retinal images, which in turn will have an impact on the early diagnosis of ophthalmological diseases."
The video about the now patented solution is available here.