Medella Health named international runner-up for the James Dyson Award

Waterloo-based Medella Health has been named an international runner-up for the James Dyson Award, an international competition that challenges product design, industrial design, and engineering university students to “design something that solves a problem.”

Medella Health is developing a smart contact lens for people with diabetes. The lens continuously monitors glucose levels in tear film and sends the information to a mobile phone so patients can better manage their condition.

“The smart contact lens has the potential to help millions of people with diabetes by removing the need to invasively test blood – it really shows the way that good design and engineering can improve lives,” said James Dyson. “I was particularly impressed at how the team condensed the technology into such a small format without compromising the product.”

This is the third year in a row that a University of Waterloo team has put the spotlight on Waterloo Region’s strong tech ecosystem at the James Dyson competition. Voltera took James Dyson’s international top prize last year — the first Canadian team to do so — and Suncayr received an international runner-up prize in 2014.

In September, the James Dyson Award named Medella Health as Canada’s national winner, which included a $3,500 prize. Medella Health, along with national runners-up Penta Medical and Arylla, competed against 105 other companies from 22 countries for the top prize.

Medella Health will receive $8,000 CAD as part of their runner-up win.

“Being a part of the James Dyson Competition has been an honour, and seeing our smart contact lens as an international runner-up has been a moment of great prestige,” said Harry Gandhi, co-founder of Medella Health. “Using the money we were awarded as the national winner in Canada and now as international runners-up, we will further optimize the technology and our goal is to get this out to our users as quickly as possible.”

The other runner-up included Australia-based Respia, an asthma management system, while the top prize winner was US-based Eco-Helmet, which is developed a refoldable, recyclable helmet.