Rural Indian patients connect with eye specialists

October 23, 2007

Theni, India-Nine remote clinics in India now can be connected through a low-cost, long distance Wi-Fi network, created by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, to eye specialists at a hospital via radio conferencing.

Theni, India-Nine remote clinics in India now can be connected through a low-cost, long distance Wi-Fi network, created by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, to eye specialists at a hospital via radio conferencing.

UC-Berkeley researchers strived to proved high-quality video by building wireless fixed links between the vision centers and the hospital.

The direct connection, which is 150 times faster than the dial-up modem they previously used, connects the nine vision centers to the Aravind Eye Hospital in Theni, India. Real-time exams are being conducted over the long-distance wireless network, which was installed for $1,800, operates at almost no cost and serves about 2,500 patients per month.

"Ours is a solution tuned to the needs of developing areas; [non-governmental organizations] don't have the resources to implement the more expensive long-distance systems such as Wimax," said Sonesh Sorena, one of the PhD students working on the project.

The network is expected to include five hospitals within the Aravind Eye System Care that will be linked to 50 clinics. Annually the clinics should serve about 50,000 patients in rural south India.