While the Android OS is being used by developers to deliver information and entertainment, the guys over at MIT are using the open platform to help bring the world into focus.
Some of you might recall MIT's Bokodes technology which they hope will replace all of today's various barcodes. Well, it turns out that the 3D/holographic nature of Bokodes technology can also be used to measure variations in eye sight. With the help of a $2 optical box and an application that runs on Android, MIT's NETRA system is able to measure one's prescription very similarly to a Shack-Hartman sensor (minus all the lasers and the huge price tag).
The application and optical box work together to display two separate lines on the handset's screen which represent your retinal focal points. Simply align the two lines by using the device's controls and the application spits out your prescription for perfect vision.
Now, MIT's optometry app may be able to tell you how bad your sight is, but it's probably not going to be replacing your optometrist any time soon. From what we can tell, this technology does not measure astigmatism and certainly doesn't get a readout of how healthy or unhealthy your eyes really are.
We're pretty sure that the application that MIT developed could work on other platforms, but MIT's hopes of having the technology dispersed to developing countries to bring low-cost vision correction to the impoverished people of the world truly ties in with the openness and the variety of devices available on the Android platform.