The Silicon Review
Presently, Augmented Reality (AR) is gaining popularity in the healthcare industry, and this is, in turn, is creating business opportunities for companies that are experts in AR. New therapies are brought to life by life sciences companies by combining the physical and virtual world. AR is helping the companies to create an interactive experience that will show the healthcare workers how new medical devices and drugs interact with the body. In a strategic alliance with Qualcomm and AT&T, Ocutrx Vision Technologies will deliver the world’s first 5G AR/XR medical specific platform in 2021. AR makes use of cameras, displays, and sensors to overlay digital information onto the real world. AR is not a new concept, but advances in sensors and cameras have made the development of AR-based solutions practical over the last few years – and sent the technology into extended reality (XR) where machine learning and AI come into play.
Healthcare and the medical field are embracing AR/XR in a big way, and Ocutrx Vision Technologies, a California-based technology start-up, is developing a series of augmented-extended reality (AR/XR) headsets that will revolutionize patient outcomes. For those suffering from Age-related Macular Degeneration and other low-vision diseases, the Oculenz AMD™ headset uses patented technology to help patients read again, and see functionally to complete everyday tasks in ways they haven’t been able to previously. During the process of inventing Oculenz AR for low-vision, the founders identified further room for improvement in medicine, specifically for surgery and radiology visualization. Current surgical systems are causing surgeons to suffer neck, back, and hip aches due to poor ergonomics. Reports show that nearly 50% of surgeons suffer pain during surgeries with almost 10% of surgeons having to retire early from surgery due to musculoskeletal pain. The Ocutrx founders surveyed top surgeons around the world and realized a surgical headset must be tetherless, lightweight, have high-resolution, and must be AR (not VR), which is unlike anything else currently on the market. Currently being developed and posed for clinical trials in Q4, the ORLenz AR headset is the surgery visualization tool that surgeons have been waiting for, so they can deliver the most effective care possible to patients while also maintaining a comfortable posture.
In conversation with Michael Freeman, Founder and CEO of Ocutrx Vision Technologies
Q. AR and XR are the new buzzwords. Do you think it is mandatory for all the industry sectors to embrace the advance of tech to increase operational efficiency?
In addition to AR and VR, the newest buzzword is XR technology or “Extended Reality,” which is typically an umbrella term encapsulating Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), Real Reality (RR), machine learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and everything in between. It doesn’t bother us that these are buzz words because they aren’t ephemeral; these will soon be household terms. All industry sectors don’t need to embrace this change, but those who embrace this technology will be ushered into the future faster than those companies who leave AR/VR/ XR out of their purview. The Ocutrx Oculenz™ for low-vision patients and the ORlenz™ for surgery and radiology use AR and XR to usher in a whole new era in medical applications and drastically improve the quality of life of our users.
Q. AR has a bigger role to play in the gaming sector. But it is still expensive to be adopted by masses. Do you consider enhancing your hardware capabilities required for mass adoption?
You’re right; several other AR companies are tackling the gaming sector, which is a growing market segment. However, we believe the talents of our team and our shareholders’ investments warrant more critical work than gaming, which is why Ocutrx has chosen to stay in the medical device sector for the next 3-5 years. Compared with other AR/VR headsets for gaming, our hardware capabilities are already enhanced. For instance, the Oculenz for low-vision and ORLenz for surgery visualization are the lightest weight on the market at 250 grams, have over sixty (60) degrees of horizontal field-of-vision (FOV) in each eye and thirty-six (36) degrees of vertical vision per eye. Duplicated for both eyes, the user gets more than 100 degrees FOV of 3D extended reality viewing and is the largest FOV in the market. Besides, both the Oculenz and the ORLenz headsets feature up to sixty (60) pixels-per-degree of the resolution, making them a higher resolution than 4K. This higher resolution is mandatory for both the low vision users and for surgeons who need the highest resolution available.
Q. Developing the technology and hardware required for AR needs a team with extreme technical know-how. How did you manage to form your dream team?
Ocutrx started as a software company but quickly realized there were no viable options on the market for a head-mounted display system that suited our unique specifications. So, we created the hardware ourselves. Ocutrx was fortunate to re-hire the same “dream team” of electronic and video experts who invented IEEE 802.11 (n) streaming, mobile video in the 1990s. (Founders and brothers, Michael H. Freeman, Ocutrx CEO/CTO and Mitchael C. Freeman, Ocutrx COO are no newcomers to quantum-shift innovation. They garnered the very first US streaming video patents, which have been cited over 1,300 times in other patents, and have over 60 issued patents in six scientific fields.) In addition to bringing back previous team members, Ocutrx sought the best and brightest in the new area of AR and virtual experiences, as well as writers, software designers, artists, and physicists.
Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?
We’re a mission-based company, and our main objectives are (1) better patient outcomes for individuals with low-vision ailments and (2) helping surgeons perform surgeries more capability and comfortably and be able to operate longer careers. These two goals will be made possible by our suite of products including Oculenz AMD™ and low-vision; EyAlignz™ for Amblyopia (lazy eye); the Oculenz RMP™ (remote medical presence) for telehealth; the ORLenz™ for surgery and radiology visualization; and the OR-Bot™ Surgery Visualization Theatre.
Meet the leader behind the success of Ocutrx Vision Technologies
Michael Freeman is the Founder and CEO of Ocutrx Vision Technologies. Freeman is an award-winning innovator with over 150 patents filed, with over 60 patents issued in the Sectors of: Multi-Channel Streaming Mobile Video, Augmented Reality Eyewear, RFID Location Base Tracking, Nano-Chemicals, Ultra-Hight Efficiency Muxcapacitor® Transformerless Power Supplies and FinTech. Freeman also won the 2015 and 2016 Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards for Best Product to Power the IoT while CEO/CTO of Semitrex a company Freeman founded based on his Switch Cap transformerless power supplies invention which provides over 95% efficiency. While President of PC Designs, Freeman invented the first streaming mobile video technology in 1994 which garnered him and the team two TV Emmy Awards. This revolutionary mobile video technology was licensed by virtually all cell companies throughout the 1990’s and acquired by Samsung who later asserted the patents in the Apple vs. Samsung II litigation. Freeman also served a stint in the Major Motion Picture Industry as a Sr. Executive Vice President for a leading Hollywood Company, 1492 Studios, Inc.