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Industry News

22 Nov 2021

Home Gaucoma Test Receives International Award

HOPES deviceA team of young inventors from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has been named as global winners of the prestigious James Dyson Award. The team’s winning design, a wearable device called Home Eye Pressure E-skin Sensor (HOPES), uses advanced sensor technology and artificial intelligence that allows glaucoma patients to easily and painlessly monitor their condition at home.

HOPES was selected as a Singapore National Winner of the Award earlier this year and subsequently shortlisted into the International Top 20 from among 83 national finalists from 28 countries and regions. The shortlisted teams were reviewed by Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson, who crowned HOPES as this year’s International Winner. The award is given out by the James Dyson Foundation, the charitable arm of the firm.

We were told that the judging process was still ongoing and that the panel had more questions,” team member Yu Kelu said. “So we were shocked when Mr Dyson himself appeared on the video call. And when he told us we had won the top prize, it didn’t quite sink in at first. It was only after the call that we realised what a big thing this was. We started cheering and I even cried.”

The HOPES device enables patients to conduct intraocular pressure (IOP) tests themselves, conveniently and with a much higher degree of accuracy than currently available tests. Regular IOP monitoring is a critical tool in helping clinicians determine long-term treatment plans for glaucoma patients. To use it, patients wear the HOPES glove which has a pressure detecting sensor at its fingertip and pair it with a profile in the HOPES App. Patients then press the fingertip on the centre of the eyelid until hearing ‘test complete’ notification. This data is processed by machine learning algorithms to continuously and accurately compute users’ IOP, which is then presented to users on devices such as a smart watch or other paired platforms, or uploaded to the cloud to be accessed remotely by clinicians.

HOPES co-inventor Yu Kelu said the inspiration for HOPES came after her father was diagnosed with glaucoma, and that she saw a need for an easy to use and reliable solution that could empower patients to manage their condition.

We are thrilled that HOPES has been selected as the international winner of this year’s James Dyson Award, and we are deeply honoured to be the first team from Singapore to win this title in Award’s 17-year history,” she said. “During the development process, we had to overcome multiple challenges to develop a lightweight and portable home-use device that provides accurate measurements of IOP non-intrusively. This Award will enable us to further improve HOPES to benefit glaucoma patients in Singapore and globally.

Congratulating Team HOPES, Sir James Dyson said: “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 have 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.

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