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Whatukura: A bioengineered model of the human eye
This project is developing a computer based bioengineered model of the human eye to give greater insight into eye disease and treatments. This will help patients and families better understand their eye and vision exams, and have improved clinical outcomes, says Jason.
“It’s hoped with this computer program, the clinician can show a family member what the patient is seeing, and then demonstrate the progression of the defect and how it might be improved by some form of surgery.”
This is significant to Māori, as research suggests that past negative experiences for Māori in the health system have affected further access, uptake and use of health care services. The model should make the situation less threatening and reduce barriers and reluctance to see physicians. The goal is to have it available in clinics or even in the home.
The idea for the project developed out of Jason’s PhD which looked at optics of the eye. He says it combines three of his interests: engineering, computer science and graphics.
To date the research team have developed the program and completed initial testing, with positive feedback. In late 2011, Jason presented on the research at the International Conference on User Science and Engineering held in Malaysia.
While this phase supported by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is coming to an end, Jason says it has laid the foundations and the team are now looking at the next stage and the possibility of using “augmented reality” or human-computer interaction in real time. He hopes to develop aids for people with poor vision.
Peer reviewed journal papers
Leung, M., Kang Ok Soo, S., Turuwhenua, J., & Jacobs, R. (2012). Effects of illumination and observation angle on the van Herick procedure. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 95(1), 72–77.
Turuwhenua, J., Patel, D., & McGhee, C. (2012). Fully automated montaging of laser scanning in vivo confocal microscopy images of the human corel subbasal nerve plexus. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science Journal, 53(4), 2235–2242.