Smart Vision Labs Wins Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award

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Smart Vision Labs, creator of the Smart Autorefractor, a portable vision examination device, has been awarded $1 million toward furthering their organization's groundbreaking work through Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award.

At the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Verizon’s Chairman and CEO, Lowell McAdam, revealed the top winners from three categories; education, healthcare and sustainability. CEO and Co-Founder, Yaopeng Zhou, accepted the award for Smart Vision Labs, top prizewinner in the healthcare category.

When McAdam kicked off Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award in Jan. 2013, he explained that Verizon’s goal was “to inspire the best minds in the industry to apply their minds to the areas of health care, education and sustainability” and leverage Verizon’s cloud, broadband and wireless networks to “address the world's biggest problems." More than 1300 entries were submitted over the course of the year, 15 finalists were selected; five in each category, and a total of $10 million was awarded to these winning innovators and entrepreneurs.

Smart Vision Labs has invented a portable wavefront aberrometer, the Smart Autorefractor, to dramatically improve the way people get their vision evaluated in every corner of the world. The device addresses the needs of the 500 million people living with uncorrected refractive error-based visual impairment globally. With 90% of these cases in developing countries, root causes such as inaccessibility to medical care, lack of trained professionals and the high cost of medical devices mar a patient’s ability to treat correctable visual impairments. This new, mobile and low-cost vision diagnostic device is designed to work with the camera of a smartphone, combined with an add-on microlens array, making the device easy to use with basic instructions.

Friends and NYU Stern graduates, the Smart Vision Labs co-founders met at Boston University as optical engineering students and have been working together to build an organization that will be game changing for the world of eye care. The Verizon Powerful Answers Award follows another recent win for Zhou and Marc Albanese in the highly competitive 100K Competition of 2013. As 100K Competition winners, the Smart Vision Labs team is currently participating in an exclusive 12-month program, facilitated by faculty of world-class innovators and designed to fast track its participants’ organizations through the challenges of building a company, while they’re actually doing it.

“We still have a lot of R & D work to do. The prize will allow us to hire more engineers and bring this product to the market,” said Zhou.

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Yaopeng Zhou
since: 05/2013
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