Tuesday February 19, 2019

Smartphone users risk becoming amnesiac

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Beware the ‘smartphone risk’

By NewsGram Staff Writer

In the era of technology with information of anything and everything available online, Google has become the new memory bank.

As per a survey conducted by Internet security solution provider, Kaspersky, almost half the world population uses the internet as an extension of their brains while 75 per cent people use it as a conduit to the information storage bank.

Conducted on more than 1,000 Indian respondents between June 23 and July 2, the survey surmises that almost half of the people are not using their own memory or that they are just not interested in remembering facts.

25 per cent respondents ‘strongly agreed’ that it was essential to just remember the source of the information, while 48 per cent ‘slightly agreed’ with the contention.

One justification for the memory crisis is the fact that there is an information overload in the overall scheme of things. Incredibly high digital communication has meant that much information flows through avenues such as Facebook, Twitter among other social media sites.

However, the survey also throws light on the start of a dangerous phenomenon; addiction.

“It is not just about reliance but rather something more sever, an addiction. The smartphone addiction may lead to amnesia, which should not be taken lightly.

It is very important to limit dependency on smartphones primarily because of its addictive properties,” Altaf Halde, MD at Kaspersky Lab said.

Further highlighting the scope of its pernicious effects, the survey says that smartphone dependency decreases with age, implying that youngsters are more prone to damaging their memory with unhindered smartphone usage.

However, the shift in memory source has not been tremendous. 55 per cent of people still choose to use their memory for remembering things while 31 per cent prefer the on-line route.

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Usage of Smartphones for Eye Check-up May Lead to Misdiagnosis

However, when the images were calibrated, the differences between lighting levels and camera types were significantly minimalised - with differences between smartphones reduced by approximately 30 per cent

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Using smartphones to capture photographs of patients’ eyes for check-up may lead to misdiagnosis as camera colour sensors vary and as a result, images of the same eye may appear different depending on the model of smartphone used, warn researchers.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that calibration of phone cameras is vital to capture accurate data.

Eye examinations to look for redness in the eye can indicate a variety of conditions including conjunctivitis, dry-eye disease and tear-gland dysfunction.

Clinicians increasingly use smartphones in conjunction with ophthalmic imaging equipment, such as the eyepiece of a slit lamp, because of their portability, ease of use and relatively low cost.

The connectivity also allows for upload to the Cloud, which is useful for telemedicine – the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients using telecommunications technology – and Artificial Intelligence applications that store thousands of images from different institutions.

However, the autofocus algorithms and hardware specifications of cameras may be different for different manufacturers which means different cameras can produce different results for the same scene.

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“It is important that clinicians bear this in mind,” said lead study author Carles Otero from Anglia Ruskin University in England.

For the study, the researchers took 192 images of eyes using three smartphone cameras, two different lighting levels and two zoom levels.

The images were duplicated and one set was white balanced and colour corrected (calibrated) and the other left unaltered.

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The researchers took photographs in autofocus mode with the iPhone 6s, the Google Nexus 6p and the Bq Aquaris U Lite, and found that the iPhone results were significantly different from the other two devices, when computing relative redness of each eye, and when compared to a clinician’s diagnosis.

However, when the images were calibrated, the differences between lighting levels and camera types were significantly minimalised – with differences between smartphones reduced by approximately 30 per cent.

“Our results show that while the clinician’s subjective evaluation was not affected by different cameras, lighting conditions or optical magnifications, calibration of a smartphone’s camera is essential when extracting objective data from images,” Otero said. (IANS)