Treating Digital Eye Strain
A startup medical company based in Alberta, Umay™ Care imagined creating a device for digital eye strain, which afflicts a growing number of people as we spend prolonged periods of time looking at screens. Knowing that applying heat to the eyes can help to loosen oil in blocked glands to relieve symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) or dry eye, while cooling can reduce puffiness, Umay™ Care was looking for a way to integrate both therapies into an everyday routine.
Umay™ Care contracted Tangent to come up with a design for a rechargeable device that could both heat and cool the eyes. Tangent’s experience was indispensable for meeting full regulatory compliance as a class II medical device. The device had to be safe, comfortable to wear, and fool-proof.
Tangent took on the development of an alpha prototype, involving work across our teams of mechanical, electrical, firmware, and industrial design. We then put the prototype up against rigorous durability tests while thermal simulation software studied the temperature of a virtual eyeball, all making sure the device was performing as it was meant to. For months, a mannequin head used for testing wore the Umay Rest prototype and made its way around the Tangent office.
Our testing led to an overhaul of the device’s design into a portable single unit, which posed some challenges for the Tangent team. From a mechanical standpoint, managing the heat in such a small device that is entirely enclosed for ingress protection involved some creative problem solving. Electrically, we reiterated the thermo-electric cooler power control circuit several times to get the best efficiency, and finding the perfect shape to fit different wearers’ orbital sockets also took some trial and error.
We ended up with a sleek, compact device as a beta prototype, which became the basis for an initial low-volume production run for in-field testing. Tangent was able to design a fully adjustable, wearable device that met the client’s required specifications, including using a medical-grade charger (USB-C), hitting the target weight of 160 grams, and having a beautiful, organic form.
Tangent’s work was completed in accordance with our ISO 13485 quality management system for medical devices. We maintain Umay™ Care’s design history file and created the device master record required for medical device compliance.
We have now supported Umay™ Care through a phase of design for manufacture. With our years of experience, we continue to act as a key technical resource for finding a contract manufacturer while upholding the integrity of Umay Rest’s design.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada