Success Stories

Smart Vision Labs

“EDC is great in getting the word out to the community about our project. They’re always giving us feedback and checking on our progress.”

Yaopeng Zhou, CEO, Co-founder, Smart Vision Labs

Business Need

Growing up in China, Yaopeng Zhou always had a love of learning, an insatiable appetite for knowledge and the desire to apply that learning to technologies that would help improve lives. He attended college in Beijing and majored in Mechatronics, a combination of mechanical and electrical engineering. At 23 he came to the states and received his Phd from Boston University in Optical Engineering. After graduation Yaopeng went to work for GE and later Abbott Laboratories. In 2012 he read an article which stated that over 250 million people globally had uncorrected vision problems preventing them from getting a good education, a good job, leading to approximately $230 billion a year in lost productivity. This deeply moved Yaopeng to the point where he quit Abbott and started to work on the technology that would later become the patented Smart Vison Labs diagnostic refraction device SVOne. He also reconnected with Marc Albanese, a friend from Boston University and together they formed Smart Vision Labs to attempt to correct this world-wide dilemma. But they needed to conduct a clinical study of the technology they were developing and arm themselves with data.

Solution

In the summer of 2014 Yaopeng and Marc learned about NYCEDC’s healthcare technology competition, Pilot Health Tech NYC. They teamed up with SUNY College of Optometry who would conduct the study, submitted a detailed proposal and won Pilot which helped fund the study. The technology tested used a smartphone and an adapter that would send light into the eye, measure the bend in the light refracted, measure the error in that bend, and calculate the prescription needed to correct that error. The device is relatively simple, inexpensive, portable, accessible and wonderfully innovative. Yaopeng says that Pilot Health Tech “opened doors to new buyers, investors, and gave us a shot of confidence.”

Learning, knowledge, and innovation put to a practical use - from what started as two entrepreneurs with a pioneering idea to a company that now employs 18 people, Smart Vision Labs is poised to grow by leaps and bounds and help conquer an enormous global problem. As for the city being the home for the company Yaopeng says “I love the city, there is so much talent and diversity it’s incredible!”