WIT Research Centres collaborate on the future of vision testing technologies

EXPERTS in tech and nutrition at one of the country’s leading research centres are pooling their skills and resources improve the quality of eye testing and the time it takes to be thoroughly examined.

The Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) and Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) within Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) are partnering on the revolutionary, €300,000 project funded under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund.

VisionAry sees experts in software development from TSSG and a team with a wealth of ocular knowledge from NRCI working together to revolutionise vision testing solutions. Their aim is to create disruptive new technology in the eye testing space using a software defined vision testing approach and bring a whole new and wider range of test solutions to the market.

Frances Cleary, Principal Investigator of VisionAry and Research Unit Manager in TSSG said: “We are delighted to get the green light for this commercialisation fund from Enterprise Ireland. It is the culmination of months of hard work conducting feasibility tests and discussing the need for such an innovative approach with industry experts, including optometrists and ophthalmologists,” she said.

The landmark project challenges the conventional eye test, which has been proven not to accurately predict visual performance. VisionAry brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from academia and industry to realise the potential of a technology focused test. This test aims to be more cost and time effective for both the optometrist and the end user, while providing superior testing of vision quality overall through a range of methods.

Currently eye vision testing relies on a methodology derived in the late 19th century. While it has proved to be a good test of visual acuity it does not represent the full range of vision capabilities, according to Prof. John Nolan, Director of NRCI.

“This innovative approach to eye testing is significant to the South East as, not only is there the potential to create a successful company, this approach to eye-testing hasn’t been done anywhere else and could result in job creation and investment in the region,” he said.

Commenting on the project, Dr. Mark White, VP Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies, WIT said: “Our researchers are encouraged to nurture and utilise the talent of their colleagues to create something radical and this is a prime example of the success fostering strong relationships within can bring. TSSG and NRCI have the added benefit of being co-located in WIT’s West Campus in Carriganore which is increasingly becoming the knowledge hub of the South East.”

Ian Mills,Tech Lead in TSSG said: “The next 16 months will be exciting yet challenging as we aim to incorporate our ICT expertise into the labs of NCRI. We will be creating a product with the potential to drastically improve the time efficiency and quality of an eye test which will effectively change the market.”

About NRCI

The mission of the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland is to support multi-disciplinary research and provide a suitable platform for scientists (for example, medical, biological, nutritional and social) to exchange knowledge and gain further understanding into the study of human well-being.
This centre was established by researchers within the School of Health Science at the Waterford Institute of Technology and provides a unique space for scientists to conduct research across a diverse range of human health related disciplines.
The main research areas active within the centre are: Biotechnology; Eye Health and Function; Cognitive Function; Chemistry and Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition.

About TSSG

Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) ICT research wing Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) is a major driver in the emergence of a telecommunications industry in the South East of Ireland. In the last five years alone, TSSG has secured funding in excess of €100 million under EU Programmes, making it one of the most successful ICT research centres in Ireland.

TSSG has a proven track record in translating world class research into market-ready products and services and has enabled the establishment of an eco-system of mobile service companies in the South East of Ireland and beyond, creating several hundred jobs directly and indirectly in the last ten years.
Established 20 years ago, TSSG currently consists of over 80 research scientists and engineers; they have graduated over 20 PhD Students and manage an active international network in excess of 700 partners from industry, academic and research institutes spread across 35 countries worldwide.
Through collaboration with industry, TSSG leverages funding to create real job opportunities in strategically important industries such as ICT, agriculture, pharmaceutical and healthcare and energy. The aim of TSSG is to work closely with industry to create new jobs through the development of core research, strong connectivity with indigenous industry as well as large multinationals, supporting high potential start-ups and partnerships with other institutes.

TSSG has expertise in the area of communications technologies, creative development, Artificial Intelligence and IoT systems, and so, can bring this expertise to bear across multiple industry verticals.
TSSG has over 20 years’ experience in large scale platform specification (architecturally) and development (e.g. www.ict-societies.eu) of enabling technologies to ensure inter-system communication. It has years of experience in development of solutions from scenario to use case to implementation. Additionally, through its security research work in TSSG, it has completed projects which require implementation of regulatory-compliant, secure, technologies. Note technology solutions developed by TSSG cover all aspects of the research lifecycle, from Basic Research through to Commercial Development.
In addition, TSSG has a dedicated software verification and validation group which can manage large scale integration and test from initial requirements through to final deployment.

Photo Caption – also in file info: L-R Ian Mills, TSSG; Frances Cleary, TSSG; Prof. John Nolan, NRCI; Emmanuel Ankamah, NRCI and Paul Hickey, TSSG