Compact Imaging extends research collaboration with NUI Galway

14 Oct 2015

NUI Galway research facilities. Photo via NUI Galway

Silicon Valley start-up Compact Imaging will continue its bio-photonics research with NUI Galway’s Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) laboratory.

Compact Imaging originally signed a research collaboration agreement with the Galway university in 2012, later extending the deal in 2015.

The latest announcement will see research and development between the two continue through to 2017.

US start-up Compact Imaging is working with Irish R&D centres to accelerate development of its groundbreaking photonics sensor.

Compact Imaging deals in optical coherence tomography (OCT), a non-invasive imaging technology that uses light to probe beneath the surface of the skin. Its aim is to shrink the often large-scale equipment for this technology to a sensor that can fit onto a wristwatch.

This proposed low-cost multiple reference OCT (MRO) sensor can have medical applications in ophthalmology and mobile health monitoring, as well as uses in wider fields, such as biometric security and non-destructive testing (NDT).

“Compact Imaging’s MRO technology is highly disruptive, offering a greater than 100 times reduction in size and cost compared to conventional OCT systems,” said Don Bogue, CEO of Compact Imaging.

“Ultimately, MRO photonic modules will be consistent in size, cost and operating power with integration into mobile monitoring devices.”

R&D led by institutions in Galway and Cork

This collaboration combines NUI Galway’s globally recognised expertise in OCT and other advanced biological imaging techniques with Compact Imaging’s engineering development and extensive intellectual property portfolio, which now comprises 15 US patents.

Compact Imaging is also working with the Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, where prototypes of the miniature MRO photonic module are being produced.

“This further substantial cash investment is a very welcome endorsement of our work by the board of Compact Imaging and its investors,” said Prof Martin Leahy, chair of applied physics and NUI Galway and director of the TOMI lab.

Prof Leahy will continue to direct the research arm of this collaboration in Galway.

“The collaboration has been very successful because both sides understand the need to align our interests. Our interest in providing substantial research topics for our PhD students and publishing our results has always been wholeheartedly supported by Compact Imaging, not the least through their rapid assessment and protection of generated intellectual property. In turn, together we have been able to deliver substantial advances of the technology and its applications, which are clearly valued by Compact Imaging.”

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.