Moving from prototype to production can be a long and expensive exercise, particularly in the medical device industry. But with the right expertise on side, this process can be made easier.
Managing Director of Flinders Partners, Mr Anthony Francis, said the high costs of tooling for manufacture can be a real barrier for small companies, such as Re-Time Pty Ltd.
The Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP), based at Flinders University, has helped Re-Time Pty Ltd overcome this barrier, with a low cost market entry product that utilises existing safety glasses and incorporates new electronics.
Bringing together the electronics expertise of Flinders University researchers and staff with the capability of a local mechanical engineer, the MDPP has provided a low volume production option.
"Rather than having to invest significant money into tooling, the low volume production model will allow Re-Time Pty Ltd to introduce their glasses into the professional market and allow us to test consumer feedback and gain acceptance from sleep professionals", said Mr Francis.
"It's a strategy that would be hard to achieve without the MDPP, and will give Re-Time an ability to grow market acceptance ahead of a full release".
With help from the MDPP, Re-Time Pty Ltd intend to release a limited run of glasses in coming months. A full consumer version, currently in the design process by the University of South Australia, will be available next year.
The glasses, with their inbuilt light emitting diodes (LEDs), use bright light therapy to assist in the treatment of insomnia, jet lag and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by helping to reset the body's natural clock.
Flinders University sleep experts Professor Leon Lack and Dr Helen Wright have invested over ten years of research and development into the glasses, with a number of clinical trials. Cost barriers have made the development a journey of stops and starts, but now the research team can see some real progress.
MDPP Director Professor Karen Reynolds said that "while the MDPP can assist companies through any stage of the product development lifecycle, it is great to be involved in getting products to market".
Re-Time Pty Ltd is a spin-off company of Flinders Partners and Flinders University that aims to address the world market for the glasses. It has current deals pending with distributors in both Japan and Australia.
The MDPP supports the development of cutting-edge medical devices and assistive technologies, through unique collaborations between researchers, industry, clinical end-users and government.
Funded by the South Australian Government through the Premier's Science and Research Fund, it brings together researchers from Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, The University of South Australia and NovitaTech.
For more information about the Re-Time light therapy glasses, please contact Flinders Partners, 08 8201 7788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms Kelly Burton, Project Officer, Medical Device Partnering Program
Ph: 08 8201 5977
Published: 21 September 2010