Waterloo-based Medella Health has been announced as the national winner of the James Dyson Award for developing a contact lens that will transform the way diabetics monitor their blood sugar levels.
The James Dyson Award is run by the James Dyson Foundation, and challenges product design, industrial design, and engineering university students from various countries to invent a solution to a problem.
Medella Health was founded by Harry Gandhi, a science and business graduate from the University of Waterloo. The company developed a contact lens that monitors the blood sugar levels in the tear fluid of diabetes patients. The contact lenses are worn and cleaned like ordinary contact lenses and are meant to facilitate the process of monitoring blood sugar levels. Through these contact lenses, Medella Health is hoping to help medical professionals detect diabetes earlier and make better recommendations to their patients.
For its tech, Medella Health raised $1.4 million in early June, and Gandhi was named a Thiel Fellow last year.
“We want to flip the medical system on its head, turning it from a reactive model to a preventative one,” says Harry Gandhi, the founder and CEO of Medella Health and a student who helped found Velocity Science and iGEM at Waterloo. “It’s a deeper way of being able to understand our health.”
To help patients manage their diabetes, diabetics can wear a small clip that allows the contact lenses to send data about their blood sugar levels to their cell-phone. The paired cell-phone can also store information about the patient’s sugar levels, diet management, and the overall trends of their health.
As the national winners of the award, Medella Health is receiving $3,500 and a James Dyson Award certificate. Medella Health, as well as Waterloo-based runners-up Penta Medical and Arylla will compete against 105 other companies from 22 countries for the opportunity to win the International James Dyson Competition.
Medella Health will find out whether it has been shortlisted as one of the 20 finalists for the international award on Sept. 29.
Last year, Waterloo-based Voltera was the first Canadian company to receive the International James Dyson Award.