Central vision loss is a devastating complication of diseases such as diabetes and macular degeneration. Because central vision is responsible for visual acuity, loss of it can severely affect one’s independence and overall interaction with the world.
seeBOOST is a pair of prescription glasses that improve central vision. The device consists of prescription eyeglasses with a lightweight electronic screen mounted onto one lens. The screen displays a magnified and bright video image of the world. The device has automatic contrast enhancement and adjustable magnification from 1.4-8.0x, and the monocular design means that the wearer can still interact naturally within conversations.
We asked Co-Founder and CEO Patrick Antaki more about seeBOOST.
Cici Zhou, Medgadget: Tell me about how seeBOOST started. What was the inspiration behind the idea and product?
Patrick Antaki, seeBOOST: The founders of seeBOOST have combined more than 40 years of experience in the area of head mounted displays for commercial, military and consumer applications. In 2012, they became aware of the research work of Dr. Robert Massoff at Johns Hopkins University, which demonstrated the effectiveness of head-worn electronic displays with magnification and contrast enhancement in improving the sight of patients with central vision loss.
Dr. Massoff used a large, bulky head-worn helmet system which was not practical for extended use by patients in their everyday lives. Our founders recognized that by applying their skills and knowledge they could create a lightweight, head-mounted system that could be used for extended periods of time and offer improved quality of life to those impacted by sight loss due to age-related macular degeneration or diabetic macular edema.
Medgadget: How does the technology work, and does it take time for patients to adapt?
Antaki: seeBOOST works by enhancing the image of whatever the wearer is looking at with both variable magnification and contrast enhancement. The device offers fast autofocus and imperceptible image latency which improve user experience and avoids sensory mismatch which could result in discomfort or nausea. The small size leaves the peripheral vision field unobstructed for even more natural connection with the user’s environment.
Medgadget: At what stage is the company today? (Number of team members, stage of development and use, investment funding, etc.)
Antaki: seeBOOST has four active team members: founders Pat Antaki, Ronnie Dunn, and Russ Lemberg, and President Don Dias. We have developed and manufactured our Generation 1 device, which has improved the lives of over 150 people afflicted with significant vision loss. We are in active development of our Generation 2 model which offers many significant performance, comfort, and aesthetic improvements. To date we have raised just over $3 million from seed and angel investors. We are currently seeking investors to fund the development and market launch of the Generation 2 model.
Medgadget: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the team over the next few years?
Antaki: Creating the optimal sales channel is the biggest challenge. People with severe central vision loss are underserved by the medical community, particularly when it comes to devices which can offer them improved quality of life.
Product page: seeBOOST