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WIT Research Centres collaborate on the future of vision testing technologies

By 27th March 2020 No Comments

Pictured is Ian Mills, TSSG; Frances Cleary, TSSG; Prof. John Nolan, NRCI;  Emmanuel Ankamah, NRCI and Paul Hickey, TSSG

EXPERTS in tech and nutrition at one of the country’s leading research centres are pooling their skills and resources improve the quality of eye testing and the time it takes to be thoroughly examined.

The Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) and Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) within Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) are partnering on the revolutionary, €300,000 project funded under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund.

VisionAry sees experts in software development from TSSG and a team with a wealth of ocular knowledge from NRCI working together to revolutionise vision testing solutions. Their aim is to create disruptive new technology in the eye testing space using a software defined vision testing approach and bring a whole new and wider range of test solutions to the market.

Frances Cleary, Principal Investigator of VisionAry and Research Unit Manager in TSSG said: “We are delighted to get the green light for this commercialisation fund from Enterprise Ireland. It is the culmination of months of hard work conducting feasibility tests and discussing the need for such an innovative approach with industry experts, including optometrists and ophthalmologists,” she said.

The landmark project challenges the conventional eye test, which has been proven not to accurately predict visual performance. VisionAry brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from academia and industry to realise the potential of a technology focused test. This test aims to be more cost and time effective for both the optometrist and the end user, while providing superior testing of vision quality overall through a range of methods.

Currently eye vision testing relies on a methodology derived in the late 19th century. While it has proved to be a good test of visual acuity it does not represent the full range of vision capabilities, according to Prof. John Nolan, Director of NRCI.

“This innovative approach to eye testing is significant to the South East as, not only is there the potential to create a successful company, this approach to eye-testing hasn’t been done anywhere else and could result in job creation and investment in the region,” he said.

Commenting on the project, Dr. Mark White, VP Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies, WIT said: “Our researchers are encouraged to nurture and utilise the talent of their colleagues to create something radical and this is a prime example of the success fostering strong relationships within can bring. TSSG and NRCI have the added benefit of being co-located in WIT’s West Campus in Carriganore which is increasingly becoming the knowledge hub of the South East.”

Ian Mills,Tech Lead in TSSG said: “The next 16 months will be exciting yet challenging as we aim to incorporate our ICT expertise into the labs of NCRI. We will be creating a product with the potential to drastically improve the time efficiency and quality of an eye test which will effectively change the market.”