1. Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society. How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
Patient safety has been improved through use of the OptiGauge by ensuring medical products are manufactured to precise standards that meet FDA requirements. Some products have only been possible because the OptiGauge enabled the customer to understand their process and effectively build the product. As an example, Lumetrics has worked with two specific customers, over a five year period, who used the OptiGauge to provide critical measurements in the development of absorbable stents. These products are the cutting edge of a totally new approach to cardiovascular treatment. Ophthalmic customers use the OptiGauge to effectively measure contact lenses and intraocular lenses to ensure the correct lens power and elimination of problems that would affect the products’ performance. Additionally, the OptiGauge has improved the environment by decreasing scrap in products as far ranging as packaging for hot dogs, to glass for windows and car windshields, to medical films, and other products.
2. Tell us about how your technology is unique? What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
The OptiGauge low coherence Interferometry technology is protected by eight worldwide patents and six US software copyrights. Two pieces integral to the technology are the use of piezo stretchers to create the interferometric signal; and the use of two light sources, one to measure and one to act as a time clock. The piezo stretchers enable an all fiber interferometer that is unique to the industry. Typical interferometers use spinning or moving mirrors to create the measurement signal. This requires sensitive alignment that is subject to movement. The piezo all fiber interferometer is robust with no internal alignment required. The second light source, acting as a time clock, gives the OptiGauge an accuracy of 0.1 microns. Additionally, there are five patents issued and five pending for low coherence Interferometry applications, including web based measurement applications, medical devices (tubes, stents, balloons), and measurement of the axial length of a human eye.
3. When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or was it an advancement of the prior art? Describe this.
When Lumetrics launched our OptiGauge technology it was transformational. The first years of market development were spent in a missionary fashion, convincing customers that an invisible beam of light could make the same measurements as the traditional micrometer, razor blade, and microscope tools that they were currently using – and take those measurements faster and more accurately than existing methods. Many of the existing measurement technologies at the time of the OptiGauge roll-out entailed manual, time consuming measurements that were subject to operator error. The OptiGauge, by comparison, required little manual intervention, took 200 measurements per second, and was not subject to operator inconsistencies.
4. Give a specific example (with company names) of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer. Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user.
Most OptiGauges are sold to medical device manufacturers such as Abbott, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, or Johnson & Johnson. Lumetrics sells the measurement system that they will then use in the Research & Development, manufacturing, and quality control processes. The medical device manufacturer then sells the device, whether it is a stent, catheter, or intraocular lens to a hospital or surgery center, where a doctor will use it during a surgical procedure. These medical devices are sold worldwide.
5. In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?
6. If other, please write in the specific market.
7. Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
For more than a decade, Lumetrics® has provided its OptiGauge system to hundreds of companies, including 6 of the top 11 medical device manufacturers and the top 4 ophthalmics companies in the world, to reduce costs, improve quality meet compliancy requirements, and make products safer.
8. Surprise Us! What else should we know about your product/technology?
The OptiGauge technology by Lumetrics is extremely versatile and is used in a tremendous number of applications. On the medical side, it is used to measure standard angioplasty balloons but also measures elaborate thoracic stents that remind me of a Chinese finger puzzle, animal tissue used to make artificial heart valves for people, flow cells used for diagnostic blood tests, balloons to hold feeding tubes in a person’s stomach, contact lenses, and many more diverse applications.