Throughout time, the eyes have been viewed as a portal— to the soul, to the mind, to what lies hidden. In this issue of IEEE Pulse, authors explore similar terrain by examining recent research into the eye as a means to gauge health and well-being, diagnose and monitor disease, as well as open new frontiers in artificial intelligence (AI).
Writer Sarah Campbell talks with Academy Award winner and University of Auckland, New Zealand, researcher Mark Sagar about the groundbreaking research underway in his laboratory on humancomputer interactions modeled on neural networks. This work includes advanced facial simulation and the lifelike real-time interactive system, BabyX. In many ways, BabyX may represent the face of future AI, programmed to learn from interactions with its users—including facial expressions—and respond with a smile to yours.
In a comprehensive review, Shannon Fischer investigates new applications for eye tracking—including its use in disease diagnosis from autism to Alzheimer’s, as well as heart disease and mental health—along with new uses for retinal imaging and the potential for tears to be used as biomarkers. In addition, she shares how recent research into smart contact lenses may assist with health monitoring in the near future.
The ability to see aids not only health but often provides an economic advantage. To limit instances of treatable vision impairment worldwide, author Mario Ettore Giardini highlights the Portable Eye Examination Kit, which provides phone-based ophthalmoscopy for use in low-resource settings. Mary Bates also looks at developing low-cost, portable diagnostic technology designed for resource-limited settings.
In other topics, we are excited to share the innovative efforts of the Saudi Human Genome Program, and we also look at the potential for linking medical training and education as well as updates on biomedical business incubators in the United States. Taken as a whole, this issue of IEEE Pulse roams the world to uncover pioneering research efforts and programs whose full possibilities are yet to be seen.