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Proyecto Eurostars: Dispositivo biomédico oftalmológico para mantener un microclima constante con alta humedad relativa


Búsqueda de socios
Una universidad suiza de ciencias aplicadas está preparando una propuesta para el programa Eurostars. El objetivo del proyecto es desarrollar un nuevo dispositivo médico que consiste en unas gafas para crear un microclima en modo activo, donde la humedad relativa intersticial entre el ojo y la lente puede controlarse y mantenerse dentro de un valor constante seleccionado por el paciente. Se buscan institutos de investigación y socios industriales especializados en desarrollo y análisis en el campo de dispositivos oftalmológicos. La fecha límite de la convocatoria es el 18 de febrero de 2016 y el plazo para presentar expresiones de interés finaliza el 1 de enero.


Eurostars project: Ophthalmologic biomedical device that maintains a constant micro-climate with high relative humidity
A Swiss university of applied sciences is preparing a Eurostars proposal. The aim of the project is to develop an innovative medical device, composed of eyeglasses capable to create a micro-climate in an active mode, where the interstitial relative humidity between eye and lens can be controlled and maintained to a constant value selected by the patient. Research institutes and industrial partners specialized in development and analysis in the field of ophthalmologic devices are sought.
Estimates on the number of people that have dry eyes vary from 10 and 20 % of the worldwide population. Methods used to reduce the problem tied to this symptomatology are artificial tears, special contact lenses and chirurgical treatment. Another way to reduce the negatives impact of this pathology is the correlation between dry eyes and ambient humidity. The conclusions will lead to a new medical device using the periocular humidity as a key to treat the dry eyes patients. Clinical studies that analyse the dry eyes symptom show the positive effect of a controlled ambient humidity. They identify a correlation between the aqueous evaporation to the relative humidity close to the eyes surface.
Another interesting result is the increase of the thickness of the tear film lipid layer caused by a higher relative humidity in the volume in front of the eyes.

One recommendation given to dry eyes patients is to use closed eyeglasses with lateral windscreens. Unfortunately, for esthetical reasons, they are not well accepted by patients. With closed eyeglasses it is possible to protect the ocular surface from the evaporation, and to create the appropriate humid (> 2%) micro climate in the eye-glass interstice.

The objective of the project is to develop a medical device, composed of eyeglasses capable to create a micro-climate in an active mode, where the interstitial relative humidity can be controlled and maintained to a constant value selected by the patient.

The consortium is actually composed by a Swiss university and an SME. Their expertise is focused on development of precision microtechnics systems, in particular to develop a controlled humidity micro-climate using external micro actuators. Furthermore their capabilities include development, analysis and manufacture of: precision microtechnics systems (mechanical, electromechanical, plastic, etc.), optoelectronic sensors, low-voltage and low-power micro-system and integrated biomedical systems.

To complete the consortium two additional partners are required.
1. An SME or large company active in development and manufacture of eyewear with a good knowledge in the correlated market, an international network in correlated marketing and an optimal manufacture structure also for small particular adapted eyewear for healthcare sector.
2. A university/research institute with expertise in the ophthalmologic clinical protocols, especially on issues related to insufficient functionality of the lacrimal glands (dry eye disease). The required expertise should deal with the effect of periocular humidity on the tear film lipid layer, impact of evaporation on aqueous tear loss, comparison of tear flow and evaporation in patients with and without dry eye and analysis of the closed chamber thermometry and humidity measurements in normal and dry eye patients.
They should have knowledge in the standards necessary for the development of an active medical device with disposable components (active substance capsules) for ophthalmologic sector.

The project duration will be 36 months. The project will be conducted in two stages.
1. The medical device development, in order to create a system that will be capable to control the relative humidity in the interstitial eye-glass volume using water.
2. The medical device modification, in order to use other liquids containing active principles like lipid molecules, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, etc.

The outcomes of this project will include the presentation of a robust methodological co-creation framework for the development and testing of the designs and the development of design ideas and prototypes to demonstrate their potential for dry eyes pathology.

The partners should come from Eurostars member country different from Switzerland.
Eurostars supports international innovative projects led by R-Y-D-performing SMEs.
The call deadline is February 18st, 2016. The deadline for expressions of interests is January 1st, 2016.
Advantages and Innovations:
Benefit and Advantages:
- The development of new uses of design in helping people with dry eyes to maintain the pathology under control.
- The use and development of existing participatory design methods in care settings.
- The development of a model for design - dry eyes care through a comparative approach.

- The project will enable the consortium to develop the design interventions in response to actual dry eyes pathology needs, removing barriers and enabling people to improve their life quality.

Partner sought

Partner Sought:
The specific area of activity of the partner: 1. Industrial eyewear manufacturer, design/technology partner: they should be interested in applying design in health context. 2. Academic investigator: expertise in a range of methods to optimize and validate the process and model to increase of the thickness of the aqueous part of the tear film. The tasks to be performed by the partner sought: 1. Industrial eyewear manufacturer, design/technology partner: Object design (e.g. help with shaping the appearance of wearable objects - eyewear) or process design (e.g. help with the co-design process; technology integration with users) 2. Academic investigator: Increase the thickness of the lipid part of the tear film modifying the close-eyes humidity.
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