A new game will please gamers until the next one comes out, while a new phone will captivate people around the world until a new model is released. But if you develop a new medical technology (medtech) that saves lives, your gift to the world will last forever.
Sam Holt, CEO of SkinView
“Do you want to help people get more friends, likes and followers, or do you want to help create the future?” asks Sam Holt, CEO of SkinView.
He and his team have built a smart device that attaches to your phone to diagnose disease.
The idea is that it can help anyone, anywhere, detect skin cancer or scabies at little cost.
Yogi Kanagasingam, serial inventor
Using technology to deliver low-cost care is the same motivation that drives Yogi Kanagasingam. A medical scientist and self-confessed ‘serial inventor’, one of Yogi’s inventions – an eye diagnostic device called EyeScan – has even made it into space, being used by NASA on the International Space Station.
Back on Earth, Yogi has built a technology based on artificial intelligence that learns from experience.
“We teach the computer about diabetic retinopathy [blindness from diabetes] and disease severity from almost 30,000 retinal images,” he says.
The system then screens diabetics to see if they need treatment to prevent them from going blind. He is now working on a similar technology to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
“Preliminary results show that we can predict Alzheimer’s 10 years in advance from the eye.”
Medtech developments across Australia
Sam and Yogi are not alone.
Across Australia, a huge range of medtech is being developed to help us live happier and healthier lives, and not just by medical professionals.
Nano-X, for example, combines knowledge from astronomers, physicists and innovators from other fields. They are building a cancer radiation therapy system a quarter the size of current devices.
Ali Fathi, medical engineer
Ali Fathi is another example.
He studied mechanical engineering at university, but wanted to use his skills to help people. As a result, he retrained to become a medical engineer.
“It’s been very challenging to move from conventional engineering to medical engineering, but I don’t regret it even for a second,” he says.
During his PhD, Ali invented Trimph, an injectable liquid that forms a gummy-like structure to help the natural regeneration of different tissues.
“Engineering something that can potentially help millions and millions of patients is really rewarding.”
What Ali, Sam and Yogi share is a hunger to make people’s lives better: the only real qualification you’ll ever need for a career in medtech.
– Ben Skuse
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.