Joint Lecture at the Royal Society of Edinburgh ... 5 The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal

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    Ian Stevens CEO

    Touch Bionics

    Joint Lecture

    at The Royal Society of Edinburgh

    Monday 4 march 2013

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    The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal Society of Edinburgh Lecture 2013

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is Scotland’s National Academy of Science & Letters. It is an independent body with charitable status. The Society organises conferences and lectures for the specialist and for the general public. It provides a forum for informed debate on issues of national and international importance. Its multidisciplinary Fellowship of men and women of international standing provides independent, expert advice to key decision-making bodies, including Government and Parliament.

    The Society’s Research Awards programme annually awards over £2 million to exceptionally talented young researchers to advance fundamental knowledge, and to develop potential entrepreneurs to commercialise their research and boost wealth generation.

    Among its many public benefit activities, the RSE is active in classrooms from the Borders to the Northern Isles, with a successful programme of lectures and hands-on workshops for primary and secondary school pupils.

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh, working as part of the UK and within a global context, is committed to the future of Scotland’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing.

    The Royal Academy of Engineering

    "As Britain’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the country’s most eminent engineers from all disciplines to promote excellence in the science, art and practice of engineering. Our strategic priorities are to enhance the UK’s engineering capabilities; to celebrate excellence and inspire the next generation; and to lead debate by guiding informed thinking and influencing public policy."

    Strategic Priorities The Academy’s work programmes are driven by three strategic priorities, each of which provides a key contribution to a strong and vibrant engineering sector and to the health and wealth of society.

    Enhancing national capabilities As a priority, we encourage, support and facilitate links between academia and industry. Through targeted national and international programmes, we enhance – and reflect abroad – the UK’s performance in the application of science, technology transfer, and the promotion and exploitation of innovation. We support high- quality engineering research, encourage an interdisciplinary ethos, facilitate international exchange and provide means of determining and disseminating best practice. In particular, our activities focus on complex and multidisciplinary areas of rapid development.

    Recognising excellence and inspiring the next generation Excellence breeds excellence. We celebrate engineering excellence and use it to inspire, support and challenge tomorrow’s engineering leaders. We focus our initiatives to develop excellence and through creative and collaborative activity, we demonstrate to the young, and those who influence them, the relevance of engineering to society.

    Leading debate Using the leadership and expertise of our Fellowship, we guide informed thinking; influence public policy making; provide a forum for the mutual exchange of ideas; and pursue effective engagement with society on matters within our competence. The Academy advocates progressive, forward-looking solutions based on impartial advice and quality foundations, and works to enhance appreciation of the positive role of engineering and its contribution to the economic strength of the nation.

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    The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal Society of Edinburgh Lecture 2013

    Ian Stevens was born in 1963 in Belfast and educated at the city’s Royal Academy and then at the University of Edinburgh, gradua2ng in economics in 1985.

    A#er University Ian spent six years in The Royal Air Force and then joined KPMG, trained, qualified and worked as a Chartered Accountant in Oxford and Prague ending up back in Edinburgh in 1998

    Between 1998 and 2007 Ian was employed by Optos plc, a medical technology company specialising in the imaging of the re2na, firstly in the roles of CFO in Dunfermline, Scotland, and then from 2003 as General Manager, North America in Boston, USA.

    From 2007 Ian was CEO of Mpathy Medical, a surgical medical device company and in 2011 he joined prosthe2c hand manufacturer, Touch Bionics, as CEO.

    Ian counts himself fortunate to have been associated with the development of three disrup2ve and leading healthcare technologies over the last 14 years. Firstly the Optomap re2nal scan from Optos, then Smartmesh for pelvic floor restora2on with Mpathy Medical and, most recently, the I-limb mul2-ar2cula2ng prosthe2c hand from Touch Bionics.

    In the 2013 Annual Joint Lecture, Ian explored how these inven2ons were brought to market, describing some of the challenges overcome and discussing how the products evolved to meet the needs of their users.

    Image on front cover: Touch Bionics were the ‘representa#ve of innova#on’ for the UK Government’s Olympic Campaign in 2012.

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    The crucial career moment came for Ian in the summer of 1998 when he went to work at Optos, with Douglas Anderson in Dunfermline. He had met Douglas a few months earlier, who had then shared the Optos fledgling business plan. At that 2me there was one prototype imaging system, ten (mainly R&D) staff and absolutely no revenue.

    Ian had been working in corporate finance and part of his job was to assess the business plans of young companies looking for equity funding. The Optos business plan was the most compelling that he had ever seen: a massive unmet need, combined with clear intellectual property and a technology which was tricky, but possible to manufacture.

    Optos was founded because Douglas’s young son, Leif, was unfortunate enough to suffer from re2nal detachments. These le# him blind in one eye and with reduced vision in the other. Douglas was determined that other pa2ents and parents would not have to go through what he and Leif had. As Ian said, “it’s so much be3er to invent something which solves a known problem, rather than stumbling across an interes2ng technological discovery and then thinking, ‘well that’s interes2ng, now what shall I do with it?’”

    The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal Society of Edinburgh Lecture 2013

    Growing Healthcare Technology Businesses – Bringing Engineering Inven2ons to Market with Limited Resources

    The main aim of this lecture was to illustrate some of the key decisions surrounding the introduc2on and growth of:

    F the Optomap re2nal exam from Optos;

    F Smartmesh for pelvic floor restora2on from Mpathy Medical; and

    F the i-limb bionic hand from Touch Bionics.

    Ian discussed the impact of these decisions on the engineering development of the products, especially in rela2on to their physical appearance, range of func2onality and, where appropriate, in the so#ware and mechanical interfaces used to control them.

    He showed how the technologies were adapted to meet their users’ needs, to survive and then flourish as businesses.

    OPTOS It took the third team hired by Douglas to solve his problem. To get an image of the re2na, you have to shine light on it and then get that light back, in and out of an opening, the pupil, which fundamentally does not like too much light interfering with it, and constricts in those circumstances.

    Douglas’s team reminded him that an ellipsoidal mirror has two focal points. The solu2on to the problem was therefore to place the eye at one focal point, fire a low energy laser beam into it and then place the collec2on device at the other focal point to collect the reflected energy. This gave no 2me for the pupil to constrict, meaning there was no need for uncomfortable contact with the cornea. Ian observed that the thing about clever inven2ons like this one is that they always seem obvious, just a#er they have been invented!

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    The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal Society of Edinburgh Lecture 2013

    From an engineering point of view, there were some significant issues to be solved, such as scanning that laser light around the en2re surface of the re2na. That challenge required the use of a spinning polygon rota2ng at exactly 27,356 revolu2ons per minute.

    Then there was an ergonomic requirement to posi2on the eye of the pa2ent in precisely the right place to get the laser beam through the pupil in the first place.

    In addi2on, there were extremely demanding manufacturing tolerances rela2ng to the performance and posi2oning of 15 or so mirrors and lenses to direct and collect that returning informa2on.

    The bigger ques2on was as yet unanswered. Once the technical problem was solved, “well then, so what really – how does it all get paid for – how do you make it a business?”

    The highly skilled ophthalmologist had not, via his manual examina2on, obtained enough informa2on to sa2sfactorily diagnose Leif’s condi2on. He had admi3ed that he was only ‘ge4ng a glimpse’.

    By inven2ng the Optomap technology, Douglas solved those two problems – they could get lots more informa2on and could record it digitally so it was there for review, rather than accessible only via the prac22oner’s memory. But