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While artificially intelligent technologies are now being deployed to help vehicles navigate autonomously, make computers learn games and improve translations, Microsoft is planning to use the same to improve upon eyecare service in India.

As announced today via an official blog post, Redmond is launching the Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE) to work on the elimination of avoidable blindness and scale the developed solutions worldwide. The research group is partnering with a global consortium of commercial, research and academic institutions to work on the enhancement of such data-driven technologies. They’ll all work on Azure and built tools that impact others in the society.

Microsoft has signed a key strategic partnership with one of India’s most prestigious hospitals — L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) based out of Hyderabad. Other partner organizations for this eyecare consortium includes Bascom Palmer – University of Miami, Flaum Eye Institute – University of Rochester (USA), Federal University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Brien Holden Vision Institute (Australia). The primary goal of this partnership is to enable the company to collectively work on a larger dataset (or patients) to identify prominent conditions that lead to blindness across geographies.

Commenting on the launch,  Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt. Ltd., said,

MINE, a global collaboration, reinforces Microsoft’s belief in the combined power of data, cloud and advanced analytics to drive public good. In our shared vision to eradicate preventive blindness, MINE will help redefine eyecare by bringing together the power of technology and knowledge of global experts.

The primary aim of this research project is to come up with machine learning models for vision impairment and eye diseases, including the rate of change of myopia in children, outcomes of refractive surgery, and other problems impacting children’s eyesight. The hospitals and universities plan to work with optimal surgery parameters to personalize surgeries and maximize the probability of success.

These partner organisations will study the collected eyecare data and apply advanced analytics with Microsoft machine learning technology to derive insights and develop strategies to deliver efficient eyecare services worldwide. They will deploy the company’s cloud platform tech including Cortana Intelligence Suite released recently to provide advanced AI models for the same.

Dr. G.N. Rao, Founder-Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute also comments on the partnership:

At LVPEI, we have been using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Power BI to drive clinical interventions and improve patient outcomes. Today, we take great pride in taking forward our partnership with Microsoft and joining forces with global institutes to revolutionize the field of ophthalmology in India and across the world.

Currently, over 285 million people are visually impaired, of which 55 million reside in India. Thus, the research group has been started and is based out of the country. It brings together the best in the field to reimagine healthcare using innovative machine learning technologies.

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