2019/08/14

Session1-9 New solution for eye correction "full-range tunable eyeglasses"

Giichi Shibuya ~Elcyo Co., Ltd.~

[Summary]

I have been dreaming of commercialization of new devices based on liquid crystal since I worked at the previous company 7 years ago. Today, eventually I can introduce our product, new liquid crystal optoelectronic eyeglasses. The eyeglasses can drastically reduce the period of treatment for lazy eye. Curing of lazy eye takes long time and cost too much. It usually takes over two years. Their visions frequently change even in every month. So, their parents have to buy new their eyeglasses many times during the period. That's much pain for their expense, however there doesn't exist any other option to cure laze eye and keep their children's good health. Thus, the unique solution which we provide is the "tunable eyeglasses (Elcyo glasses)", a new type of eyeglasses with liquid crystal lens (Elcyo lens), of which the focus distance can change with the applied voltages by a micro battery inside. The lens grade can be controlled freely. The prototype of Elcyo glasses is currently under development and will be released very soon by 2021. Significantly, when the children wear Elcyo glasses, there's the possibility that lazy eye will be cured within only 6 months in the best case, thanks to the continuous eye correction by tuning lens grade appropriately anytime, according to the ophthalmologist's opinion of Osaka University Hospital. Besides, they can save the cost of $2,000 for eyeglasses and $300 for doctor's fee, because only one eyeglasses, Elcyo glasses, is enough. Briefly, our technology offers faster cure of lazy eye and reduces cost.
The core of our technology is the Fresnel structure of liquid crystal lens developed in Osaka University, Japan. Saw-tooth potential distribution is generated with only flat surfaces and it can enlarge the diameter of the lens into 35 mm, and widen the tunable range to over ±6 D (diopters). The description of competitor's specs of tunable eyeglasses revealed that the maximum diameter is less than 15 mm and the range of tunable lens grade is only 0 to 0.7 D. The existing products are not supposed to be able to satisfy almost all customer's needs.
The portion of children suffering from lazy eye is reported to be 2 to 3 % in all children, globally. In Japan, 72,000 children are suffering from lazy eye. So, when we assume that 85% of the target customer pay Elcyo glasses for $500, then the gross income is $30M. Recently several methods of treatments for curing lazy eye are reported and under trial, however there's still no perfect solutions to ease the customers' pain and meet the needs. The parents of children can control the lens grade by themselves, and there's no need to get doctor's prescriptions. Our business started with the collaboration with the partner enterprises, however the goal of our business model is well-established B to C model by purchase and rental. Osaka University Hospital is the strong supporter and collaborator of our business.
In 2015, two founders of Elcyo Co., Ltd. (Shibuya and Lee) joined the same entrepreneurship course Osaka University offered. We were strongly inspired to help children suffering from lazy eye through the interview of them at Osaka University Hospital. We hope to solve the difficult social issues and contribute to society. Our new products and technologies are currently developing very fast with the supports by collaborators. We launched the company in April, 2019. To be a successful startup, we seek the investment of $500,000 for R&D, $2M for custom IC and another $2M for mass production. Finally, we would like to introduce our vision, that is, "We hope to deliver smart glasses worldwide for better long-term vision."Thank you very much.

[Profile]

Image-澁谷.jpg After graduation from Keio University, Shibuya started working at TDK corp. for 30 years since 1984. At Osaka University He has been focusing on the research of Fresnel liquid crystal lens since 2014, and launched Elcyo Co., Ltd. in 2019.