The Foundation for Innovation

Hi everyone and a very warm welcome from India! This is Shruti!

Research is undeniably the most important step of any project or experiment, but it isn’t the easiest. Research is the foundation of the knowledge you have about your problem, so it requires time and effort, but in the end, it is worth it!

While doing research, gathering the right publications with the right information is crucial. To my surprise, in the beginning, I found many articles during my research that explained diabetic retinopathy and current detection methods. However, research for health care is much more meticulous and requires vigilance in statistics and data analysis especially when published. That is why I decided to source my research through articles published by authorized healthcare institutes or publications by clinicians to ensure the information was accurate. 

Also, researching doesn’t mean just “googling” for articles and reading papers on the subject but digging for more information beyond that. For me, it required talking to experts and people familiar with the topic to build my own perspectives on diabetic retinopathy. When I started to build my device, I had many questions and found it frustrating to find good sources that explained the optics of the eye, different lenses, and how doctors use them today. To answer my questions, I decided to talk to experts at my next eye appointment! They showed me their current method of retinal imaging, the Optomap, and I was able to learn a lot more about diabetic retinopathy from them!

By researching and getting background information on the project and problem, I could bring in more evidence to support my project and my innovation. I found as many articles as I could in the process of going down the rabbit hole of research! As I kept on discovering important information (and of course the occasional article on smoothie recipes for diabetics), I learned that the Optomap had low accuracy and a hefty price. Additionally, as I was researching retinal imaging, I learned about a database that had over 35,000 clinically verified retinal images. This dataset proved to be very useful in helping me train and test my model.

With so much information, note-taking, sorting, organizing, and storing the information is the key to referring to them later on. This organization also helps make connections between my previous research and the new information that I find so I can make improvements to my project.

Jumping into innovation before research can be tempting, but it can be improved significantly with research on the topic. Even though it may seem tiring and lengthy, jump down the rabbit hole, see where it takes you, and never stop exploring!

Thank you for reading my blog this week! See you next time!

~ Shruti