Easy-to-use non-invasive wearable device could prevent development of glaucoma in mild and pre-glaucoma patients
- Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss affecting about 80 million people worldwide and every year 3.6 million people lose their vision permanently due to the eye disease. It is also the leading cause of registered, permanent blindness in Hong Kong (23%).
- Caused by interocular pressure (IOP) on the optic nerve, glaucoma is painless and progresses slowly, however there are no preventative therapies to reverse glaucoma.
- Current therapeutic approaches to preserve failing vision involve reducing IOP, but are only available for diagnosed patients and may involve invasive surgery or daily doses of eyedrops that may have side effects
HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 7 September 2022 - This year's Hong Kong national James Dyson Award winner attempts to find a new solution to solve this problem.
O_Oley is non-invasive, physiotherapy device that can stop the development of glaucoma in mild and pre-glaucoma patients. Users wear a set of comfortable curved-shell goggles for contactless thermal stretching of their eyes. Through customisable adjustments, the device actively stretches the ocular muscles of the eye, enhances tear secretion and improves ocular compliance.
Comprising a corneal tissue compliance improvement (CTCI) system and multiple visible and IR spectrums to increase the temperature of the ocular tissue, the O_Oley boosts blood circulation and induces relaxing thermal stretching of the ocular tissue to strengthen its ability to withstand intra-ocular pressure. This reduces stress in the ocular tissues and decreases the risk of optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma.
Unlike other treatments for glaucoma for diagnosed patients, O_Oley is non-invasive and offers a comfortable warming therapeutic experience suitable for home use.
O_Oley was designed by a team from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, comprising Kin Nam Kwok (leader), Kwun Chung Chan, Minji Seo and Yuen Yin Leung.
The HKUST team hopes their design can help reduce the global prevalence of glaucoma with an easy-to-use device that can be adjusted for different users' needs and is comfortable enough to keep using on a daily basis.
Winning the Hong Kong national leg of the James Dyson Award will inject £5,000 into the O_Oley project, enabling the team to patent their design and kickstart a startup so they can make O_Oley smaller, lighter, and more effective.
Kin Nam Kwok says: "Our passion and curiosity helped brainstorm and bring ideas together for this device. Inspired by hot yoga, our team decided to explore the same concept for healthy eyes. Further inspired by Dyson's bladeless fan, we implemented contactless inductive stretching, rather than full contact stretching like commercial ocular massagers."
Steve Yeung, Hong Kong judge: "While built-up eye pressure is the major risk factor of glaucoma, I am glad to see O_Oley present a wise approach that utilizes regulated negative pressure and IR irradiation to ease such conditions. Its goggle-format design is commendable because it makes this therapy possible at home and encourages patients to keep performing the treatment without strain. This is a promising solution and good news for all glaucoma patients."
The first engineering and clinical prototype of O_Oley took the form of swimming goggles with a flat crystal sheet at front that allowed the team to monitor ocular conditions under different stretching levels. By 3D scanning a face model the team could test and examine the fit of various goggle shapes. For the commercial prototype, they simplified the design, making it more comfortable and robust.
The O_Oley will progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award and the O_Oley team aims to commercialise this product. The team wants to get user feedback to improve the interface and functionality and hopes to build personalized exercise protocols on top of the design based on the users' conditions and ocular health. The team also wants to develop a mobile app to make the customization process easier and more enjoyable for the users.
The International shortlist will be announced on 12th October, and the International winners on 16th November.
The Runners Up
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James Dyson Award
The James Dyson Award forms part of a wider commitment by Sir James Dyson, to demonstrate the power of engineers to change the world. The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, the James Dyson Foundation and James Dyson Award encourage aspiring engineers, to apply their knowledge and discover new ways to improve lives through technology. To date, James Dyson has contributed over £140m to boundary-breaking concepts in education and other charitable causes. The James Dyson Award has supported over 300 inventions with prize money, and is run by the James Dyson Foundation, an engineering-education charity funded by Dyson profits.
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Recent past winners
- 2021 International winner – HOPES (Singapore) - A device for pain-free, at-home eye pressure testing, opening up access to glaucoma testing, by students of the National University of Singapore.
- 2021 Sustainability winner – Plastic Scanner (Netherlands) - A low-cost, handheld device to identify plastic for recycling, by Jerry de Vos from TU Delft.
- 2021 Medical winner – REACT (GB) - A device to stem bleeding to help save the lives of stabbing victims, by Joseph Bentley from Loughborough university.
- 2020 International winner – The Blue Box (Spain) - Invented by 23-year-old Judit Giró Benet, The Blue Box is a new way to detect breast cancer, at-home, using a urine sample and an AI algorithm.
- 2020 Sustainability winner – AuREUS System Technology (The Philippines) - Invented by 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue, AuREUS is a new material, made from waste crop, which converts UV light into renewable energy.
About the competition
Design something that solves a problem. This problem may be a frustration that we all face in daily life, or a global issue. The important thing is that the solution is effective and demonstrates considered design thinking.
Entries are judged first at the national level by a panel of external judges and a Dyson engineer. Each operating market awards a National winner and two National runners-up. From these winners, a panel of Dyson engineers then select an international shortlist of 20 entries. The top 20 projects are then reviewed by Sir James Dyson who selects his international winners.
- International winners, chosen by Sir James Dyson, awarded up to £30,000.
- International runners-up receive £5,000.
- Each National winner receives £5,000.
The deadline to apply: midnight PST on 6 July 2022.
How to enter
Candidates enter through an online application form via the James Dyson Award website.
Entrants should explain what their invention is, how it works, and their development process. The best entries solve a real problem, are clearly explained, show iterative development, provide evidence of prototyping and have supporting imagery and a video.
All judges will take into consideration the restrictions to prototyping and product development as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Entrants must be, or have been within the last four years, enrolled for at least one semester in an undergraduate or graduate engineering/design related course. This course must be at a university in a country or region chosen to participate in the James Dyson Award.
In the case of team entries, all members must be or have been within the last four years, enrolled for at least one semester in an undergraduate or graduate programme at a university in a country or region chosen to participate in the James Dyson Award. At least one team member must have studied an eligible subject in engineering or design. Those participating in a degree level apprenticeship at Level 6 or Level 7, and those who have completed said apprenticeship in the past four years, are eligible to enter the award.
Further FAQs can be found on the James Dyson Award website.