Old Samsung smartphones are being repurposed to improve access to eye care

May 6, 2021

Part of the Galaxy Upcycling program.

That outdated Samsung smartphone that you have sitting inside your drawer could still have some life left to it. As part of the Galaxy Upcycling program, Samsung is repurposing older smartphones to be utilized in ophthalmic health care in developing nations around the world. 

To do this, Samsung has partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blind (IAPB) and the Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) based in Korea to help create medical devices that can help screen for eye disease through the utilization of older Galaxy smartphones that are no longer in use. Through this program, Samsung is helping to address around 1 billion global cases of vision impairment that could be prevented with the proper diagnosis.

“People around the globe face barriers to accessing fundamental health care, and we saw an opportunity to engineer smart, innovative solutions that reuse products to drive more sustainable practices and make a positive impact in our communities,” said Sung-Koo Kim, VP of Sustainability Management Office, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “This program embodies Samsung’s belief that technology can enrich people’s lives and help us build a more equitable and sustainable future for all.”

Older Samsung smartphones can become the brain of the Eyelike handheld fundus camera, which connects to a lens attachment that can help enhanced fundus diagnoses. The Galaxy device can also capture images and utilizes AI to analyze and give a proper diagnosis. This simple tool costs just a fraction of most commercial instruments and can help screen patients for conditions that can lead to a variety of other diseases.

“We were looking for an eye health diagnosis solution that was cost-effective to reach as many people as possible, and when we saw the performance of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, we wanted to integrate their upcycling efforts into our research,” said Dr Sangchul Yoon of Yonsei University Health System. “The combination of using multiple optical technologies and artificial intelligence, coupled with camera performance of a Galaxy smartphone, created an affordable medical device that was just as capable as a fundus camera used by medical professionals. This not only solved a health issue but a growing environmental concern as well.”

With programs like Galaxy upcycling, Samsung is able to provide technologies that help reshape experiences while actively empowering consumers in making them more environmentally conscious.

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.