Oxsight aims to bring second generation wearable tech to market

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought challenges for the tech start-up, Oxsight, as it works on a new solution for people with central vision loss

UK tech start-up, Oxsight, has said it needs the support of key stakeholders to bring the second-generation of its smart glasses solution to the market.

The wearable technology, ‘Oxsight Onyx’, is designed for patients with central vision loss, commonly attributed to macular conditions.

However, disruption brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought fresh challenges, such as supply chain delays and nervousness around investment, meaning Oxsight have returned to seeking investment.

Dr Rakesh Roshan, CEO of Oxsight, explained: “The feedback we’ve received is that Onyx is life-changing and gives people back their independence. To people with degenerative eye disease, that is invaluable, but we need the support in place to offer it, especially due to the further isolation caused by COVID-19.

“Sight loss is a fragmented market and largely underserved. Oxsight aims at consolidating it, but we need the support of the key stakeholders,” Dr Roshan added.

The company has described the disruption as a “blow” for people with visual impairments, suggesting eye health, and macular disease in particular, “does not receive a level of funding or attention proportionate to its impact.”

Oxsight has received support from the Macular Society, with the smart glasses currently in a testing stage with patients including members of the group. In this trial phase, all of the testers have reported that facial detection was improved, and 75% said they could read better whilst wearing them.

“Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting over 1.5 million people,” noted Cathy Yelf, CEO of the Macular Society.

“Technology can often be a great way of doing this by providing solutions to everyday tasks and helping people to connect with the world around them. Recently, our members have been trialling Oxsight’s new smart glasses – Onyx – and we have had positive feedback about their potential to make a difference to the everyday lives of those living with sight loss.”

The company began as a research project at the University of Oxford, but has grown into a brand of assistive technologies.

Dr Michael Crossland, specialist optometrist in low vision and UCL honourable senior research associate at Moorfields Eye Hospital, shared his excitement for the low vision device. He said: “Assistive technology is already helping many of our patients with moderate to severe visual impairment, but current devices are limited by their weight, cosmetic appearance, non-intuitive controls, and lack of versatility.

“The Oxsight Onyx device has addressed many of these concerns and has clearly been designed with visually impaired people in mind,” Dr Crossland added, highlighting that the device could offer a more affordable and lightweight solution for people with visual impairment.