Two biomedical devices facilitated by light, optics receive NSBRI support

Two companies have been selected to receive grants from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) for their biomedical devices: LumosTech, a Stanford University-based startup company developing a programmable mask that uses light therapy during sleep to adjust a person to a new time zone, and eVision Smart Optics (Sarasota, FL), a company developing electronic smart glasses that can change eye prescriptions as needed.

LumosTech is developing a smart sleep mask that emits pulses of light while the user sleeps, adjusting the user's sleep cycle. "Both astronauts and ground crew are often required to perform mission critical tasks at times that are at odds with their normal sleep/wake cycle. This mask will enable them to shift their normal cycle to ensure that they are alert when needed," says Vanessa Burns, the company's CEO. This technology could also benefit international business travelers that must rapidly transition into different time zones. By using this sleep mask, travelers may be able to lessen the effects of jet lag and preserve their ability to perform.

Most astronauts experience vision changes that result in decreased visual acuity during spaceflight. NASA needs the ability to adjust the prescription as needed in real time. "Liquid crystal lenses can be re-programmed electronically to adapt to an astronaut's changing vision. Additionally, the lens can be programmed with far, near, and mid-range sections, or with all sections of the lens at a single focal length," says Tony Van Heugten, CTO of eVision Smart Optics.

Funding is provided through the Space Medical and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP), administered by NSBRI's Industry Forum. For more information, please visit www.smartcap.org.

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