Solutions for patients with low vision 'Macular Degeneration'
Minimizes user inconvenience with smaller size·lighter weight
Production starting on March by reflecting additional improvement request
Celico will start to mass-produce augmented reality (AR) glasses for patients with low vision in the first quarter of next year. They introduced product that minimize user inconvenience with smaller size·lighter weight. The 'electronic eye' project is also accelerating, which restores vision by inserting image sensors into damaged retinas.
Supported by 'C Lab Outsider', a startup fostering and support program supported by Samsung Electronics, Celico recently completed the development of the first prototype of AR glasses for patients with early·mid-term low vision macular degeneration. They plan to produce an improved product by additionally reflecting user feedbacks in March next year. They are currently negotiating with parts makers for consignment production. Jung-seok Kim, CEO of Celico said, “Currently, we are replacing the optical engine and new parts to minimize the weight. It is our goal to reduce the weight of current 150g down to about 100g.”
Celico AR glasses are a special purpose solution for people with rapidly deteriorated eyesight due to macular degeneration. The macula is the most important part of the retina, the nerve layer in the eye. When macular degeneration occurs, eyesight is impaired because eye cannot perceive light properly. Symptoms of macular degeneration include 'central scotoma' in which the central part of the vision is not visible or 'deformation' in which shows objects are bending.
Celico AR glasses solved the central scotoma problem by isolating the dark-looking central image and placing it outside the visual field (periphery). The image data captured by the vision assist camera is processed in real time with a high-resolution wide-field (wide FoV) optical engine. The full HD micro display mounted inside the AR glass shows the screen to the user. Celico also provides an application using their own image processing technology, maximizing user convenience. Celico AR Glass won the CES 2023 Innovation Award.
Celico is also speeding up research and development (R&D) of their next-generation product, 'Electronic Eye'. If AR glasses are for patients with low vision in the early and middle stages of macular degeneration, electronic eye is a solution for patients with late-stage retinal disease. Celico is the first company to develop a microelectronic eye in Korea by making a very small image sensor and inserting it into the retinal layer using micro-semiconductor design technology. The electronic eye not only miniaturizes the image sensor, but also has a very high level of technical difficulty, such as ergonomic design that minimizes foreign body sensation, materials that consider biostability, and wireless charging that enables high-efficiency power transmission.
Celico currently has secured their 256-pixel electronic eye technology. The electronic eye was inserted into a pig that had lost sight in a preclinical trial, and validation was successful. It means that there was a brain wave response through the electronic eyes when light was shone. It is expected to go through the clinical trial licensing process next year at the earliest. Celico expected that commercialization would be possible if 2000-pixel performance can be secured.
According to the Korean Ophthalmological Society, the number of patients with retinal disease in Korea is expected to exceed 500,000 in 2025 from 146,000 in 2010. The global electronic eye market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 9.6%, reaching 36.9 billion USD (about 49 trillion KRW) in 2025.
By Staff Reporter Dong-jun Kwon (firstname.lastname@example.org)