Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Physics at NUI Galway, Director of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) Laboratory, and Scientific Director of the National Platform for Biophotonics and Imaging (Ireland)
Nov 19 2014 Posted: 16:43 GMT

NUI Galway’s TOMI Lab Provides Globally-Recognised Scientific Leadership for Advanced Development of Company’s Mobile OCT Technology

The National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) (www.nuigalway.ie) and Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI) (www.compactimaging.com) today jointly announced the extension of their innovative research collaboration in the field of optical coherence tomography (OCT) for a variety of applications, including mobile health monitoring and identity verification.

The research agreement will continue the advanced development of CI’s novel multiple reference OCT sensor technology, MRO™, very small, low cost, low operating power OCT architecture ideal for high volume mobile applications. The original two-year research collaboration successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility of applying CI’s MRO™ technology in areas such as monitoring skin lesions and creating 3D fingerprint images.

OCT is an imaging technique similar to ultrasound, but employing light rather than sound. Since its commercialisation in the early 2000s, OCT has revolutionised medical diagnostics in clinical settings. It is the fastest growing medical imaging modality, with annual re-imbursement for ophthalmic assessments exceeding $1 billion and more than $400 million in OCT instrument sales, up from virtually nothing a decade earlier.

The research collaboration combines NUI Galway’s globally-recognised body of OCT research in medical and biological imaging with CI’s development and intellectual property in OCT and MRO™ to enable very small, low cost, and low operating power devices for applications such as non-invasive mobile personal health monitoring and identity verification. CI has developed an extensive patent portfolio, comprised of 14 issued US patents and numerous published and unpublished US and foreign applications.

Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Physics at NUI Galway, Director of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) Laboratory, and Scientific Director of the National Platform for Biophotonics and Imaging (Ireland), will continue to direct the collaboration’s research efforts in Galway.

Researchers associated with the collaboration had several accomplishments over the initial two-year term, including:

  1. Demonstrated technical feasibility of building MRO™ OCT systems using consumer level components, proving that MRO™ is inherently a low cost, small size (the size of a wristwatch), and low operating power sensor technology, well-suited to mobile applications.
  1. Demonstrated technical feasibility of a combination of an MRO™ OCT system with a dermascope to enable depth imaging and biometry of skin lesions in a low cost, small form factor device.
  1. Demonstrated technical feasibility of MRO™-based 3D fingerprint imaging for secure personal identification and verification.  

“Compact Imaging’s MRO™ architecture has clear and sustainable advantages in size, cost, and power consumption over other OCT technologies,” said Professor Leahy. “We’re delighted that our team in Galway is contributing so significantly to a dramatically different version of OCT technology that can make advanced optical imaging and biometry accessible both outside the clinic to patients and other health-oriented consumers and to developing countries where provision of affordable, ‘fit for purpose’ diagnostics is a real need.”

CI is an early stage technology company focused on the rapidly expanding markets for mobile imaging and biometry in applications such as health monitoring and biometric security. Its proprietary MRO™ technology makes possible non-invasive optical imaging, biometry, and analysis across a range of high volume applications.  

“Our collaboration with NUI Galway and Professor Leahy’s labs has been critical to demonstrating the principles and potential applications of MRO™’s low cost, small form factor design,” said Don Bogue, CEO of Compact Imaging. “We believe that CI’s MRO™-based sensor development is unlocking the world of high value personal biometrics.

“The collaboration has been very successful,” said Bogue. “This is just one of several ways in which Ireland, its people, and its institutions, have supported the development of Compact Imaging. With the strong Irish position in medical device design, development, and manufacturing, we expect continued expansion of our presence in Ireland.”

CI holds a portfolio of US patents covering multiple reference optical coherence tomography (MRO™). The underlying imaging technology, optical coherence tomography (OCT), was first commercialised over a decade ago for use in ophthalmic diagnostic imaging. CI’s MRO™ is a much different architecture from that used in conventional OCT systems. MRO™ sensor technology enables design of very small, low cost devices ideally-suited to high volume mobile monitoring applications.

Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI), headquartered in Mountain View, CA, USA, is privately-held.

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