All of us have gone through the lengthy and often inefficient process of going to the optometrist and then painstakingly reading thorough charts to determine visual acuity - what if there was a much better and faster way to determine it? After talking with Dr. Peter Karth of the Stanford School of Medicine, we realized that there was potential to develop a mobile app that can instantly detect visual acuity.

What it does

Instant Acuity allows patients to quickly detect their visual acuity and for providers to check up on their patients and schedule appointments if necessary. The visual acuity detection system solves two major problems - first it allows for the user to speak the letters he or she sees rather than manually enter them (which is beneficial especially for the elderly population) and second it uses facial recognition and subsequent distance calculations to make sure the user is not holding the device either too far or too close.

How we built it

Instant Acuity was developed using Xcode with Objective-C as the primary programming language. IBM Bluemix was utilized for speech to text conversion while Facial Recognition (via Apple API) was utilized to to determine whether the user holding the phone too close or far away. Design was done within Xcode and with Microsoft PowerPoint. Also, the LogMAR Visual Acuity scale was utilized to determine the user's vision (the varying letter sizes are based on a mathematical formula we developed based on the minimum angle of resolution of a user looking at a particular letter).

Challenges we ran into

Using IBM Blumix to implement speech to text proved to be difficult - we had to go through several iterations to implement the API effectively. Moreover, facial recognition also proved to be a significant challenge (using the front facing camera on an iPhone).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of being able to synthesize many varied components together - IBM Bluemix, Apple's Facial Recognition API, and Xcode's User Interface together to create a promising product - all at our very first hackathon!

What we learned

Never stop hacking- where there is a will there is a way! While working out bugs and logical errors can be frustrating, ultimately there is a solution and finding it is immensely rewarding.

What's next for Instant Acuity: A Mobile App for Vision Testing

Instant Acuity is a very promising concept and the prototype demonstrates that it could have a revolutionary impact on vision testing. We hope to do further testing on the app and optimize it for potential use in industry.

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