Ocutrx Announces New AR Headset For Vision Impaired – My Blog

Ocutrx, an Irvine, CA startup, is launching a see-through, stand alone AR headset early subsequent yr, the OcuLenz, which offers imaginative and prescient correction to sufferers with Superior Macular Degeneration (AMD), the main explanation for imaginative and prescient loss in adults over 60. "Superior types of the illness result in a devastating and irreversible lack of the extremely detailed central imaginative and prescient for which we now have no therapy out there," mentioned Dr. Thomas A. Finley, MD, a Vitreoretinal surgeon, and early champion of the OcuLenz, in an interview.

The brand new OcuLenz AR headset can now be pre-ordered Ocutrxtech.com.


Ocutrx was based in 2015 by brothers Michael Freeman (CEO/CTO) and Mitchael Freeman when their father, an entrepreneur and former fighter pilot, Brig. Gen. Richard C. Freeman was recognized with age-related AMD. Within the 80s, Gen. Freeman purchased a pc catalog gross sales firm, PC Designs, which then expanded into retail after which authorities gross sales. At one level within the mid-90's PC Designs was the most important provider of laptop merchandise to the State of California. With this background and expertise with working a big meeting plant, the Freemans, with brother-in-law Chad Boss, developed the primary cellular video product which was the muse for IEEE 802.11(n). Given their success, the Normal challenged his sons to develop a know-how resolution to his rising incapacity.

Dr. Finley and Edward Tarr, MD, who suffers from AMD. On this image they're testing a prototype … [+] of the OcuLenz.


Dr. Finley was Normal Freeman's surgeon, seeing him each 6 months for anti-VEGF photographs (which retards the development of AMD). Gen. Freeman advised Dr. Finley that he and his sons have been growing a imaginative and prescient correction system for AMD. "Certainly Dr. Finley thought my father was dropping his thoughts," mentioned Ocutrx co-founder and COO, Mitchael Freeman. After Gen. Freeman handed away in 2017, his sons took the primary prototype of their OcuLenz headset to Dr. Finley's workplace to point out him the pixel manipulation software program they developed to normalize the imaginative and prescient of an AMD affected person. Dr. Finley grew to become the primary outdoors investor within the firm.

Michael H. Freeman, co-founder, CEO and CTO of Ocutrx, maker of the OcuLenz.


Each rounds of Ocutrx funding got here from Ophthalmologists and surgeons who're intimately conscious of the determined want for a know-how resolution​ for these struggling the illness. The corporate has just lately launched Spherical C to additional propel OcuLenz' commercialization. Ocutrx will produce a number of thousand models each month by the top of the yr, and in 2024 they count on to end up 5,000 OcuLenz head mounted shows a month. With twenty million People struggling with AMD, they properly know the necessity of an answer.

The journey has been an extended one. Though, in line with CEO Michael Freeman, the "aha" second got here early, once they found their father might see a curved television display screen higher than a standard, flat display screen. The Normal might see higher as a result of extra info was being introduced to his peripheral imaginative and prescient. It was then that the brothers, together with their nephew, Jordan Boss, found out a seemingly easy resolution, which was to simply transfer pictures away from the central imaginative and prescient and to the peripheral the place sufferers might see. The pixel manipulation software program they developed was working, however they may not discover an AR headset that might deal with their wants.

"At first we have been going to simply develop software program and use another person's {hardware}, however the entire AR merchandise had such a restricted field-of-view on the time (and nonetheless now) that we determined to construct our personal," mentioned Michael Freeman. "In case you are working with sufferers who've misplaced as much as 20% of their central imaginative and prescient, a 35 diploma AR headset isn't going to do a lot. That's why we started engaged on a 60 diploma horizontally and 40 diploma vertical headset. We went by way of about 15 variations, every a little bit bigger FOV than earlier than. Then we discovered Dr. David Kessler, Ph.D." Dr. Kessler, is likely one of the nation's prime photonics and optics engineers, with over 100 optical patents in his title. He labored twenty-four years at Eastman Kodak creating optics for cameras, telescopes and microscopes and later developed and designed AR/VR programs for twenty corporations.

Primarily based on his experience in AR/VR and recognizing the shortfalls of the out there options, Kessler conceived a greater thought for a reflective and refractive optical engine, which he inbuilt 2020 as Ocutrx' Chief Optical Engineer. Along with the Freemans, Kessler created what they name a "Close to-eye, Pupil-forming Catadioptric Optical Engine."

Entrance view of the brand new OcuLenz.


The Howe Innovation Heart on the Perkins Faculty for the Blind in Boston identifies over twenty different corporations engaged on wearables for AMD sufferers. Some units are assistive in particular methods, just like the OrCam, which clips onto your glasses. It seems at what you are studying and speaks it. The most typical method is the sort of magnification supplied by NuEyes, which is used primarily as a surgical loupe. Neal Weinstock is founder and CEO of Soliddd AR, whose AMD correcting headset has been in improvement for ten years. He and his co-founder, Berkeley professor emeritus Richard Muller, are planning to convey a lower-cost headset to market within the close to future. Following a $1.3 M seed spherical Soliddd is elevating $2 M to go to market with their design. The OcuLenz is taking a really completely different method using pixel manipulation software program, with a patented near-eye optical engine.

Ocutrx has developed shut relationship with specialists and surgeons, a lot of whom are buyers. They've inspired the corporate to deal with ache factors in different facets of their work that solely medical practitioners would know. "Through the COVID lockdown, our provide chain for growing the OcuLena AR headset crashed," defined CEO Freeman. "We pivoted to develop the OR-Bot, which is what surgeons at over 16 skilled conferences had been asking for. Due to the poor ergonomics related to the Customary Optical Microscope (SOM), a 100 yr outdated design, fifteen p.c of retinal surgeons find yourself needing orthopedic surgical procedure." The OR-Bot addresses this situation by permitting the surgeon to dictate their place of consolation and permit the visualization system to evolve round her or him.

The OcuLenz for AMD can have an MSRP of $6,000. Medicare will cowl roughly $1,800 of the acquisition worth. Low-vision facilities, College Hospitals, low-vision trade distributors, and the corporate web site would be the major gross sales channels for the brand new AR system. A purpose-built Snapdragon XR2 processor from Qualcomm Applied sciences powers the OcuLenz. Ocutrx is releasing a Unity SDK in early 2024, enabling third events to develop purposes for the OcuLenz.

"The OcuLenz, powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Platform, is a superb instance of how XR applied sciences can convey optimistic change to folks's lives. We applaud Ocutrx for tapping the ability of XR to convey their distinctive high-resolution resolution to affected person care," mentioned Jeff Henckels, director of XR product administration at Qualcomm, in a press release.

Freeman says video games, leisure and enterprise, and medical purposes might be constructed with the corporate's optics {hardware} and software program.