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Twenty-six-year-old Yu Kelu’s father was recognized with Glaucoma in late 2019.

Her father – 55-years-old – suffers from fixed eye ache and complications, as he has to go to the physician for eye strain checks and the ache normally lasts for days.

The pandemic additionally makes it a trouble to go to hospitals regularly, exposing themselves to viruses, on high of the uncomfortable remedy course of. This made Kelu need to do one thing about it.

Kelu is a PhD scholar underneath the Department of Materials Science & Engineering on the National University of Singapore (NUS).

NUS scholar Yu Kelu and her father / Image Credit: Yu Kelu

Through the college, she then roped in two different college students – 26-year-old David Lee and 28-year-old Li Si. It was a melting pot of concepts, as all three of them have completely different academic backgrounds, and every tapped on their particular person experience to provide you with an answer.

Si is a PhD scholar underneath the college’s Institute for Health Innovation & Technology whereas David is a analysis engineer with the college’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering.

The three younger inventors mixed their data of supplies, electronics, and machine studying to construct an eye-tracking sensor machine to detect Glaucoma, hoping that it will probably assist individuals with these situations enhance their life.

They determined to name it HOPES, a hoop within the identify to represent a dream to assist stop the aged from going blind.

The idea labored, and immediately (Nov 17) they had been introduced as the primary Singapore International Winner for the James Dyson Award, bagging the highest prize of S$53,000 to assist them additional their invention.

These Singapore winners – the primary Singapore crew in all 17 years of the award’s historical past – beat over 2,000 international entries to win the highest prize, they usually had been personally chosen by Sir James Dyson himself.

What is Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a prevalent illness amongst the middle-aged and the aged, and is the main reason for irreversible blindness worldwide.

Last 12 months, about 80 million individuals on the planet had been recognized to have Glaucoma.

In Singapore, about three per cent of individuals over the age of fifty have this situation. Almost one out of 10 individuals over the age of 70 have Glaucoma.

Because it’s largely symptom-free, it’s also called the “silent thief of sight”. There’s no remedy but when recognized and handled early, blindness will be prevented.

Image Credit: Rebuild Your Vision

“Many sufferers overlook the consequences of increased eye pressure and may not notice any problems before their vision is lost,” shared Kelu, David, and Si in an interview with Vulcan Post.

“Hence, regular monitoring of eye pressure is necessary for early prevention and diagnosis of Glaucoma. Regular eye pressure check-ups can help slow or prevent vision loss, especially if one detects the disease in its early stages,” they stated.

Current strategies to examine eye strain require sufferers to go to the hospital each two to 3 hours over a 24-hour interval to observe fluctuations in eye strain.

Sometimes, hospitalisation is required, which is disruptive to the sufferers’ on a regular basis lives.

Almost one out of 10 individuals over the age of 70 have Glaucoma / Image Credit: HealthXchange

“Because of the inconvenience, many patients do not adhere to their schedules for check-ups. Therefore, we saw a need for an at-home intraocular pressure monitoring for Glaucoma management,” the crew stated.

The creation of HOPES

Last 12 months, Kelu and Si met with ophthalmology specialist clinician Dr Victor Koh on the National University Hospital (NUH) to know extra in regards to the issues of Glaucoma remedy and analysis.

Kelu and Si determined to design a wearable machine that might leverage their data and experience in electronic-skin (e-skin) and sensor know-how developed at Tee Research Group to measure eye strain. Later, David joined the crew to help with the work.

Over the previous 18 months, the crew spent most of their waking hours designing, ideating, and prototyping HOPES. They hoped to fill a spot they recognized in Glaucoma administration – the necessity for a protected, non-invasive, low-cost, at-home eye strain sensor.

HOPES / Image Credit: James Dyson Award, NUS

Such a tool can probably be carried out with a telemedicine platform, decreasing hospital visits and the burden on healthcare infrastructure, particularly through the pandemic.

HOPES may even permit clinicians to make use of the information captured to adapt remedy plans. The crew intends to make HOPES cater to many customers, by way of a transportable and accessible consumer expertise.

After virtually 100 iterations of the product, HOPES was born – a wearable biomedical machine for pain-free, low-cost, at-home intraocular strain (IOP) testing. Powered by patent-pending sensor know-how and synthetic intelligence (AI), it’s a handy machine for customers – significantly Glaucoma victims – to self-monitor their IOP.

Early this 12 months, the scholars’ supervisor Dr Benjamin Tee shared a e-newsletter in regards to the James Dyson Award.

The crew realised that the work they had been doing aligned with the aim of the award: To design an engineering resolution to an issue.

Spurred by the alignment of imaginative and prescient, and with the hope that their product could make a distinction and be recognised as one that may, the younger researchers determined to submit HOPES for the award.

The response from the NUS crew when Sir James Dyson informed them they gained the highest prize / Image Credit: James Dyson Award

To their delight, they beat 2,000 entrants to emerge as the highest winner for this worldwide award, validating their analysis and displaying them that it has the potential to unravel issues in the true world.

How does the machine work?

After making a profile within the product app, the consumer wears the HOPES glove with the sensor positioned on the fingertip, urgent this towards the centre of the eyelid.

The fingertip employs a novel sensor structure that captures dynamic strain data of the consumer’s eye with sub-millisecond precision.

The captured alerts are processed by machine studying algorithms to constantly and precisely compute customers’ eye strain scans.

Data is transmitted by way of Bluetooth to paired units or uploaded to the Cloud to be accessed remotely by clinicians.

A consumer wears the HOPES glove with the sensor over the eyelid for checks / Image Credit: James Dyson Award, NUS

The app prompts customers with easy-to-read measurement historical past and direct hyperlinks to healthcare techniques, permitting them to hunt medical assist to minimise future signs.

Beyond the straightforward and easy-to-use software, HOPES incorporates AI tech.

The crew defined why AI is critical for the product: “When discussing the problem of Glaucoma treatment with clinicians and conducting trials of our own, we noticed that eye pressure measurement becomes more challenging when the patient has had some prior injuries to the eye, such as scarring or lesions.”

Image Credit: James Dyson Award, NUS

“This, in addition to differences between patients’ eyelid textures, added additional complexities to our approach of measuring patients’ eye pressures. Hence, we decided to implement AI to help solve the problem of measuring the patient’s eye pressure while accounting for the variations in different patient conditions,” they stated.

What’s subsequent for HOPES

After discovering out that HOPES bagged the James Dyson Award, the crew has been approached by a number of firms and enterprise companies each domestically and abroad who need to know extra about their invention.

“It was a pleasant surprise and this offers exciting opportunities. We are open to discussions about how we can take HOPES further and make it a reality,” the crew stated.

The college students even have plans to collaborate with clinicians at NUH to gather and analyse sufferers’ eye strain information to coach the machine’s machine studying mode.

They are presently specializing in optimising HOPES’ efficiency, bettering its design, and dealing with native hospitals in Singapore to pilot HOPES quickly.

On successful the James Dyson Award International Prize, the crew stated, “With this win, we hope in the future people can measure their eye pressure in a pain-free, at-home environment. We want to improve people’s quality of life and aspire to one day apply our research group’s sensor technology across different health monitoring applications, such as robotics and biomedical devices.”

The HOPES crew / Image Credit: James Dyson Award, NUS

Commenting on the Singapore win, Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson stated, “I’ve experienced first-hand how invasive and unpleasant the tests for glaucoma can be, but it is a vital test.”

“This group of young people has tackled a problem that doesn’t affect them directly, but which affects members of their family. Their work has the potential to make Glaucoma testing much more widely available and I wish them every success as they navigate the challenging process of further development and medical approvals,” James stated.

The James Dyson Award is run and run by the James Dyson Foundation – a global charity that goals to nurture and encourage a brand new technology of design engineers and inventors.

Dyson because the enterprise shouldn’t be concerned within the administration of the James Dyson Award and doesn’t have interaction in recruitment, analysis, or the additional improvement of scholars’ innovations, Dyson stated in a response to queries.

“Participants retain absolute ownership of any intellectual property surrounding their ideas. The fullest support from the award comes in the form of media exposure, and the sharing of external contacts that may help support their journey to commercialisation,” it added.

Featured Image Credit: James Dyson Award, NUS

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