When the company set out to find a product development partner, its objective was clear: it wanted to improve the usability of a tonometer (internal eye pressure measurement device) which was on the market. It was also important to ensure the accuracy of the results of measurement made at home.
Icare is an advanced medical
The latest product of Icare, the Icare HOME tonometer is designed for self-measurement. It is intended for glaucoma patients who need regular monitoring of intraocular pressure on their doctor’s orders.
“We started our cooperation with Etteplan by going through our wishes and preliminary expectations. Ease-of-use and simplicity were at the top of our wish list. In the new Icare HOME tonometer, the user is guided by a light control at the same time as the measurement take places,” says R&D Director Ari Kukkonen from Icare. Etteplan was assigned the responsibility for the software and electronics design of the Icare HOME tonometer as well as system testing.
Knowledge was key to success
The Icare HOME tonometer’s measurement functions are based on the measurement method of earlier Icare products as well as on patented rebound technology, in which an extremely lightweight sensor touches the cornea of the eye.
"In demanding projects, industry knowledge and customer cooperation come to the fore. In this project, a good customer relationship along with a skilled and demanding customer led to an outcome that fulfilled the objectives. For the project’s success, it was essential to understand the medical sector’s standards and quality criteria,” says Etteplan's Project Manager Mikko Kämäräinen.
“When the project’s starting points are clear and a common understanding has been established, we can produce a prototype of the device very quickly. Ideally, this means both electronics and software, as in Icare,” adds Kämäräinen.
“The rebound measurement technology is unique in character and that’s why it is patented by Icare. It is a fine example of Finnish innovation,” says Kämäräinen.
Icare has been very satisfied with Etteplan’s development work and cooperation.
“A new project is currently under way, and our cooperation will continue on an expanded basis.”
Clinical safety tests passed
The Icare HOME tonometer was ready for industrial production in spring 2014, after the official trials required of medical products had been passed. “Before a product can be launched on to the market, clinical trials in which the product is compared against standard requirements and solutions already on the market are required. Safety tests required by the standards are also performed on the product,” explains Icare R&D Director Kukkonen.
According to Kukkonen, elevated intraocular pressure may be a sign of glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve. It should also be borne in mind that the intraocular pressure varies in different situations. For this reason, it is important that the ophthalmologist obtains reliable results over a longer period and is able on this basis to determine more precisely the right treatment.