News • May 11, 2020

CBU professor awarded grant to help develop blindness prevention technology

Dr. Matthew RickardRiverside, Calif. (May 11, 2020) – Dr. Matthew Rickard, a professor at California Baptist University, believes he is on the verge of developing breakthrough technology in the area of blindness prevention.

Rickard, CEO for a start-up company, Globe Biomedical, recently received a boost to his research for a wearable eye health monitoring system. The company was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant for approximately $715,000. The funding includes a $40,000 subaward for CBU engineering students to help conduct testing of the technology. 

The grant will allow Globe Biomedical to continue its research and development work that infuses eyeglass technology with built in monitors that track and report remotely on a person’s eye pressure readings. Rickard said his technology is designed to track a patient's risk of glaucoma—the most common cause of irreversible blindness—that is associated with increase in pressure within the eye.

“We at Globe are very excited to have the opportunity to continue serving the medical community through the development our eye health monitoring system,” said Rickard, professor of bioengineering.

The wearable system is based on patent-pending technology developed at CBU in the Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering.

While the actual product is two to three years away, Rickard said the goal is to have a version of the glasses ready for trial runs by the end of the year.

This is the second NSF grant awarded to Globe. Nearly a year ago the company received funding for $224,000.

Rickard said receiving the additional grant is exciting, especially for his start-up company located in Riverside.

“It’s critical for early stage technology development to have early-on investment,” Rickard said. “This NSF program is a perfect balance of government-funded research but directed toward commercialization. It creates jobs and spends it locally.”

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