Concept: New Zealand’s medical equipment manufacturing startup Toku Eyes (Toku) has launched ORAiCLE, an AI platform that uses a retinal scan to determine a person’s cardiovascular risk. ORAiCLE, according to Toku, is more cost-effective and accessible through pharmacies and self-service retinal photo kiosks.

Nature of Disruption: Toku’s patent-pending technology uses a retinal camera to capture an image of the back of the eye, allowing the test to be performed practically anywhere. The AI platform can analyze the risks of a cardiovascular attack or blindness in seconds after receiving an image. Based on the analysis, ORAiCLE delivers personalized wellness and lifestyle recommendations or highlights the need for specialist referral for preventative care. It is non-invasive and doesn’t use any radiation. The platform can detect minute changes in blood vessels, capillaries, and arteries, as well as pigmentation and calcification. This can be used to stratify a person’s risk of having a cardiovascular event in the next five years, such as a stroke or heart attack. Moreover, learning to utilize a retinal camera and AI software requires very little training, so anyone can perform the test. This AI system can work accurately even with low-quality photographs.

Outlook: Diabetes patients are at a higher risk of having heart failure. Identifying high-risk individuals have traditionally been an inaccurate, expensive, and invasive process. Due to long distances or lack of appointments, most people with diabetes or prediabetes are unable to receive crucial screening. By using the eye as a diagnostic tool for conditions outside of the eye, ophthalmologists can now communicate with cardiovascular surgeons. In both the public and private sectors of New Zealand, Toku’s platform is used as part of diabetic screening services. It is also available in 20 Indian clinics. Toku has partnered with Candian healthcare technology company EyeCheq to build a network of self-service retinal scan kiosks around the US. The startup plans to employ ORAiCLE at 1500 locations across the US by 2025.

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