ByÂ Ashwini Rajpoot:
A consultant clinician and scientist at LV Prasad Eye Institute, Anthony Vipin Das is not your regular ophthalmologist. He is, as his profile on the institute’s website suggests, ‘an ophthalmologist by passion and an innovator by choice.’ While his passion has driven him to become one of India’s prominent eye surgeons, his choice has brought about revolutionary innovations in the field of visual rehabilitation, earning him the distinction of being named among the top ‘35 innovators under 35’, by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His first creation is that of a user friendly information database called EyeSmart. LVPEI is one of India’s largest eye hospitals with millions of patients. Storing patient information on written records naturally proved complicated and inconvenient. Vipin Das instead of going along with it decided to build a patient information database which would allow ‘the doctor to access the medical records of a patient from any of its clinics.’ Eye Smart not only does away with the cost of printing but also provides hassle-free communication between the doctor and the patients. It has been incorporated in eight out of the 102 existing LVPEI centres and is also accessible on iPads and other tablets.
Another creation of his is FITTLE (fix the puzzle) in collaboration with Tania Jain, a postgraduate from National Institute of Design. This toy with its three dimensional pieces embossed with Braille letters will help blind children read Braille, memorize spellings and understand the shape of objects whose spellings they’ve learned. Each object is broken down into its constituent letters and these letters are then imprinted on blocks that on assembling forms the shape of the given object. It is easily accessible as it can be downloaded through open platforms and can then be 3D printed for use by anyone. It is revolutionary because through a fun and playful games it will change the way these kids perceive the world around them.
A TED (Technology, entertainment and Design) fellow, he is also the principal investigator for Le Chal– a pair of haptic shoes that use GPS technology to help the blind reach their destination by guiding them through vibrations in either foot. He also juggles these with his role as the founder of the organization called REPOrT (Rural Education and Prevention of Ocular Trauma). He is also a member of the International Task Force for emerging technologies for teaching and learning at the International Council of Ophthalmology.
Mr. Das comes out to be a man seeking solutions to questions that the society has not even considered to ask. He works tirelessly looking for ways to make the world a better place. As Barack Obama said- “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” Mr. Das and his efforts have surely filled people with abundant hope.