Optometry robotics research wins Graham Seed Fund

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

graphics with robotic parts overlay

An interdisciplinary team from the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering and the University of Waterloo Optometry Clinic has been awarded $25,000 from the Graham Seed Fund for their vision robotics research.

This fall, the University of Waterloo’s Health Initiatives team launched the Graham Seed Fund (GSF). The GSF strengthens the University’s health system partnerships by providing resources for collaborating directly with a full range of health providers and clinicians.

“Waterloo researchers are transforming health-care, particularly in health technology. Collaborating with industry partners enables our researchers to innovate with purpose and bring solutions to the market for real-world impact,” says Dr. Catherine Burns, associate vice-president of Health Initiatives.

Ten research proposals were selected from the 34 that were received. The recipient researchers span across five Waterloo faculties and the partnerships range from local hospitals and provincial health-care providers to industry partners and international universities and organizations.

Headshot of Dr. Ben ThompsonOne of the funded projects partners the University of Waterloo Optometry Clinic with Dr. Ben Thompson (pictured left). Thompson is a University Research Chair and professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science. The project will enhance adherence to amblyopia treatment using social robotics. 

The team also includes Drs. Lisa Christian, and Marlee Spafford (both from the School of Optometry and Vision Science) and Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahan (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering).

This research is to “develop a social robot that can enhance amblyopia health literacy among pediatric patients and their caregivers,” says Thompson. “The project emphasizes patient and caregiver collaboration and interdisciplinary research."

The GSF is made possible by the J.W. Graham Trust Endowment Fund. Visit the Transformative Health Technologies website to learn more about the fund.