Giving the gift of sight.
Every year I get to sit through a large number of presentations from people who have developed new products or applications. Whilst lots of them are interesting, it‘s rare to see one that jumps out. This year I was fortunate to sit through one of those. It was given by Andrew Bastawrous from the London School of Tropical Medicine, describing a smartphone adaptor and application he and his colleagues had designed to help diagnose sight problems. It was a master class in how to make decisions about hardware and application development.
Andrew has now set up Peekvision – a company planning to make and distribute their product. They’ve started an IndieGoGo campaign to fund it, which will let them supply them to community workers around the world who have been selected by their partners Médecins sans Frontières and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. For £60 you can pay for a device to be given to a healthcare worker. I can’t think of a better Christmas present to give.
What was so good about Andrew’s talk was the pragmatic approach to product design. It started by identifying a real problem that needed to be solved and then addressing the challenges of rolling it out in a way that made sense to patients, the local community and health workers. So many developers would have just reached for their iPhone and started to write code. This brilliantly demonstrates why that would have been the wrong approach. Continue →