IET sites Welcome Your IET account Search E&T Search Toggle navigation Menu E&T logo High-tech technology background with targeted eye scan Coronavirus rapid eye scan tests planned by German company By the editors of E&T Published Monday, April 12, 2021 A Munich-based company has a developed alternative method for coronavirus testing with an eye scanner that it claims takes only three minutes to identify carriers of the disease.
Semic RF has developed its scan app with colleagues in the US and is currently pending regulatory approval. According to Semic’s general manager Wolfgang Gruber, the company hopes to roll it out in Germany by the end of next month.
The app, called Semic EyeScan, uses a photo of the eye taken with a smartphone and identifies the virus through a symptomatic inflammation called “pink eye”. The company has reportedly isolated Covid-19 from more than two million different shades of pink, Gruber said.
He explained that the app – already tested on more than 70,000 people – can process up to a million scans per second, with the option to expand that capacity further. The app may also be able to return crowds to mass events, such as concerts and football games, with simple spectator tests.
“You take your app, take a picture of both eyes, send it for evaluation, and then you can have the evaluated result saved as a QR code on the tested person’s smartphone,” Gruber said.
Semic RF based the app on its “Cradle” project, “Digital Photography of Eyes,” which began in 2014 with a university clinic in the US. The project evaluated conventional studies of leukocorie (white pupil reflex).
The company has incorporated their experience from the Cradle project into the EyeScan app and further developed it to investigate respiratory conditions in people of all ages.
In early 2020, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recognized conjunctivitis (pink eye) in SARS-CoV-2, the virus strain that causes Covid-19.
Using this knowledge, Semic examined RF data from 450 corona-infected patients with its deep learning system to determine whether they were infected with Covid-19.
The company checked this through the app by scanning the eyes in video mode to see if the solution could reliably detect the conjunctiva infected with Covid-19.
In April 2020, the company expanded the EyeScan app software by adding “YUV” color modeling technology, a color coding system that encodes a color image or video that takes human perception into account.
The company also integrated a gamma compression method, or gamma correction, that controls the overall brightness of an image.
With the additional use of the YUV color model technology and the integration of the gamma compression method, the company said it made further progress after evaluating the data of 70,000 patients.
- Here, they said the app successfully isolated diseases such as SARS-CoV-2 and diabetes with a hit rate of more than 95 percent. The app is initially aimed at businesses and commercial users, at a cost of € 480 (£ 415) per month, with a later rollout planned for individuals.