WearOptimo aims to provide affordable, wearable technology to revolutionise monitoring of biomarkers, which act as an early warning sign of disease. Initially, their sticker like device will provide real time monitoring of hydration and of heart failure biomarkers. They plan to manufacture the device in Queensland, creating a one of a kind facility that will create hundreds of jobs over the next decade.
Microscopy Australia’s University of Queensland and Australian National University facilities have provided ongoing support to WearOptimo. During R&D, microscopy was used to optimise the structure of the device for maximum skin penetration. It also allowed visualisation of the shape, height and density of the microstructures. Now that the company has progressed to manufacturing for clinical trials, microscopy is being used to monitor and manage the production quality. Along with this, Microscopy Australia staff have worked closely with WearOptimo to interpret results, train their staff, and develop tools for their specific needs. The project is also supported by The Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) and other partners.
Anthony Brewer, Head of Research and Development at WearOptimo explains the significance of microscopy to the company’s progress.
“At WearOptimo we’ve extensively used Microscopy Australia in the last two to three years as we’ve developed our technology. It’s a sensor that sits outside of the body, but it has these little micrometre-sized probes that get into the skin to access all the interesting physiological information inside your body. We can’t see those micrometre-sized probes with the human eye, so of course microscopy is vital for us as we develop our technology.
We have some in house expertise, but we heavily rely on the experienced staff of Microscopy Australia because there is a wealth of knowledge there and it would take us a long time to get to that same level.”
These micrographs also served as an important tool for persuading investors. In October 2020, a partnership between WearOptimo and Aspen Medical for the development and distribution of their sensors in key markets was announced. Aspen Medical has extensive connections to mining, resource and energy sectors where hydration monitoring of workers is of paramount importance.
Aspen Medical Founder and Executive Chairman Glenn Keys AO said, “We’re delighted to be partnering with WearOptimo and excited about the potential for Microwearable devices across the resources, aged care and defence sectors, where heat stress awareness is an ongoing concern”.
Recently, WearOptimo were awarded a grant from the Australian Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) to aid in a $3.9 million dollar project to develop a manufacturing facility in Queensland. This will create 13 new permanent positions along with a range of permanent support roles.