New ANU spin-off to help test for blindness

24 September 2014

Australian National University (ANU) and technology company Seeing Machines have set up a new company to develop a fast and cheap way to test for the main  causes of blindness.

The new company, NuCoria, will exploit eye tracking technology currently being used in driver safety devices to diagnose eye and neurological disorders, including glaucoma.

"The technology has the potential to enable early diagnosis of diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and some neurological disorders," said Professor Ted Maddess, from the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research.

ANU researchers will work to further develop the second generation TrueField Analyzer, which can test both eyes at the same time. After eight years of development, the device is ready for independent testing before it can be marketed.

The device gives eye specialists the potential to better detect and treat debilitating eye diseases that affect tens of millions of people worldwide.

Seeing Machines is a high-technology company formed in 1999 out of a collaboration with the ANU. It has developed driver safety devices which monitor fatigue and improve safety on roads, rail and mine sites around the world.

ANU will take the lead in managing NuCoria, allowing Seeing Machines to focus on its Driver Safety Systems.

Seeing Machines chief executive officer Ken Kroeger said the NuCoria partnership with ANU was a natural fit.

"We firmly believe in the TrueField Analyzer's capabilities, but it is in better hands with ANU to take it to the next step of independent testing," Mr Kroeger said.

Professor Maddess said the ANU was now looking for new investors to help market the technology.

 "We are building the next generation of the machine to be independently assessed and are on the lookout for a partner to market it," Professor Maddess said.