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EyeNetra Puts Eye Care Diagnostics in the Palm of Your Hand

Child using EyeNetra deviceImagine looking into your smart phone, pressing a few buttons, and getting a prescription for eyeglasses. EyeNetra, an award-winning project out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, has created a phone app and clip-on attachment that enables people to easily diagnose a variety of eye conditions. The project team’s goal is to “democratize access to eye care” around the world… using a device that nearly everyone owns.

David Schafran, a project manager for EyeNetra, explains how poor vision plays a role in work productivity and illiteracy — two driving factors of poverty in developing countries. In addition, many countries lack the professional and technical resources to offer basic eye care to the millions who need it. Through EyeNetra,EyeNetra logo people receive a prescription to correct vision problems so they can be more effective in their jobs or perform better in school. The device can also spur development of microenterprises and other businesses catering to the local population.

The EyeNetra device has been piloted in over 20 locations around the world over the past year. The team is now exploring various social enterprise business models to spin off from MIT, and is actively seeking angel and social venture capital investors. With EyeNetra, the key to better health, economic opportunity and quality of life is in everyone’s pocket.

Click the audio player below to hear more about EyeNetra.


Connecting Consumers and Business to Improve Communities

After working on a CSR project in Costa Rica, Mike Norman was inspired to find a way to encourage the business community to expand its participation in social change activities. So he founded SoChange.com — a customer loyalty platform helping consumers support businesses that implement social change projects.

Visitors to the site purchase gift certificates that can be used at a local business that has agreed to a SoChange “challenge” project. Recent challenges have focused on areas such as creating jobs for at-risk youth and reducing a shop owner’s carbon footprint. The company has recently begun a larger challenge in support of 350.org’s campaign encouraging the U.S. business community to focus on climate change issues.

“We all have the power to convince business to be more socially and environmentally responsible,” says Mike. SoChange helps consumers join together to exercise that power with their purchases, engaging business owners to make a positive impact on local communities and the world.

Click the audio player below to listen to Mike’s interview and learn more about SoChange.com.