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The 3D Printed Smartphone Accessory that Could Help Save Millions

(Popular Mechanics) EyeNetra estimates that some 2.5 billion people around the world need glasses, but are stymied by the high cost of eye exams. Netra-G leverages the iPhone’s camera and processor to pull off on-the-spot, physician-free eye exams and lens prescriptions. Rapid-fire 3D-prototyping is central to the development of the Netra-G

MIT Media Lab director and health tech entrepreneur Frank Moss showed off the latest version of the Netra-G at SxSW. Netra-G has evolved from a single plastic lens placed on the iPhone’s camera, to a dual-lens device that can check both of the user’s eyes at once. The smartphone is now loaded into the device, in a kind of removable cartridge.

The prototype that Moss displayed was fully-functional, and produced entirely by the company’s $15,000 printer. “By now, this is probably outdated,” Moss said. “I’ve had this one for a few days. They could have fabricated three more versions since then.”