Non-contact device to measure eye movement as indicator of brainstem activity wins UCD award
16 June 2015
An early-stage business idea to commercialise a non-contact device to measure eye movement as an indicator of brainstem activity has won a University College Dublin (UCD) commercialisation award.
The business idea, which significantly overcomes the limitations of the current measurement system, has won the 2015 UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Programme.
Ocular MicroTremor (OMT) is a tiny, involuntary fixational movement of the human eye which occurs even when the eye is apparently still and is caused by constant activity of brainstem oculomotor units.
Clinical interest in the measurement of OMT exists as it can be applied to provide an indication of brainstem activity or alertness, including the effect of concussion or head trauma; predication of coma outcome; optimising drug dose delivery associated with anaesthesia and treating patients with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, and unambiguous brainstem death confirmation.
However safe, clinically acceptable, accurate and comfortable measurements of OMT signals are quite difficult due to their physiologically high frequency range (centred at ~ 84 Hz with a range of +/- 7 Hz) and small amplitude range (from 25 nm up to 2500 nm peak-to-peak).
The current standard time-consuming method of measuring OMT frequency is to invasively place a sterilised, single use piezo-electric probe or needle firmly and uncomfortably against an individual’s sclera (the white of the eye) and to measure the resulting qualitative signal.
UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Programme
The winning business idea, which has emerged from the 2015 UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Programme, is based on commercialising the indirect Brainstem Activity Monitor.
The indirect Brainstem Activity Monitor is a non-contact, non-invasive, fast and portable optical measurement device which combines innovative optical engineering hardware and software algorithms to overcome limitations of current measurement system.
The non-contact sensing device provides a single number result similar to a ‘pulse’ measurement. It is safe, fast, reliable, accurate and quantitative. Being a portable device it can also be used in a clinical or sports setting and is easy to operate.
The promoters of this early-stage business idea are Professor John T Sheridan, professor of optical engineering, UCD Earth Institute and UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering and Dr James P Ryle, who completed his PhD under the supervision of Prof Sheridan.
Dr Ryle is currently an independent research consultant who has been working with Prof Sheridan on this and other optical engineering solution-driven business ideas. Some of this work has been partly supported through Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Voucher scheme.
The UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Programme is a one-day initiative designed and delivered by UCD’s technology transfer and enterprise development teams at NovaUCD in collaboration with the UCD Earth Institute.
The programme aims to encourage the development of commercial outputs arising from engineering research taking place at UCD by engaging with researchers at an earlier stage in the commercialisation process.
Measuring Ocular MicroTremor (OMT)
Speaking at the presentation of the award, Brendan Cremen, UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation said: “I would like to congratulate Prof Sheridan and Dr Ryle on winning the 2015 UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Award. This early-stage engineering business idea to commercialise a non-contact method of measuring Ocular MicroTremor (OMT) has the potential to make a significant impact in the health industry in Ireland and internationally.
“Our objective with the Sprint programmes is to engage with UCD researchers at an earlier stage in the commercialisation process and to use internal and external experts to assist them in understanding and defining more clearly the commercial potential of the outputs emerging from their world-class research activities.
Prof Sheridan and Dr Ryle were presented with an award and a €1,000 prize fund to assist them to further develop the business idea, as it was judged to have the most commercial potential.
The 2015 UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Programme, which took place at NovaUCD, involved a total of four early-stage business ideas.
The other participants who took part in the programme were;
- Liam Doherty, a PhD student, UCD School of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering;
- David Gibbons, an MSc student, UCD School of Biosystems Engineering;
- Michael Mescal, a Masters student, UCD School of Architecture.
The members of the judging panel for the 2015 UCD Engineering Innovation Sprint Programme were Dr Terry McGrail, director and technology leader, Irish Centre for Composites Research; Dr Kevin O’Flynn, sales manager, ENBIO, and Brendan Cremen, UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation.
This is the fourth one-day Innovation Sprint Programme delivered at UCD. Three other programmes focused on CleanWeb, Agri-Food and Life Science business opportunities have been held over the last 12-month period.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2015/06/16/non-contact-device-ucd-award/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ucd-11.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ucd-11-300x300.jpgNewsNovaUCD,UCD