Jun 07, 2022

MedTech Actuator 2021 Menzies Scholar: Dr Rowan Page

MedTech Actuator 2021 Menzies Scholar: Dr Rowan Page

MedTech Actuator 2021 Menzies Scholar: Dr Rowan Page

MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholar Dr Rowan Page is transforming his impact by developing a wearable light sensing device to guide people toward healthier light exposure patterns together with the team at Circadian Health Innovations.

Dr Rowan Page is an early-career researcher and the Director of the Industrial Design program in Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Rowan’s research and practice are focused on the design of smart wearable devices for health and medical applications. Through design practice, his research helps to translate fundamental medical and technology research into commercially viable outcomes.

Melding industrial design and research

Constantly blown away by technologies being developed at Monash University, Rowan knows how innovations can have a real impact on people’s lives but can see how difficult the development processes at universities can be. He has seen several projects where the quality of early-prototype research devices makes it difficult to collect data, from real people, in real-world contexts.

“The existing devices are fragile, too big, uncomfortable, hard to use, or people are embarrassed to wear them. Bringing industrial design into research early enables us to also bring consideration of human factors and end-user needs into projects early, enabling researchers to collect better and more reliable data.”

A wearable light sensing device

Rowan is carrying out the light pin device project as an Industrial Designer working in close collaboration with Circadian Health Innovations, sleep scientists, mathematical modellers, and creative technologists.

“The light pin device we are working on is the perfect embodiment of pairing world-leading research expertise, incredible electronics and technology development, and early design involvement.”

Light pin device
The light pin device: An embodiment of early design involvement & research expertise

The device enables our partners to amplify their research in circadian and sleep science and has also revealed numerous consumer applications from supporting shift work, to jet-lag management. To complement the wide application of this device, the team has also been approached by NASA and elite sports teams interested in performance optimisation.


Science, Research Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship with the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship recipients embark on a four-month journey, where recipients gain knowledge from leading industry experts, work alongside Australia’s emerging healthcare entrepreneurs and receive mentorship from MedTech Actuator.

Light pin device app
The light pin device also comes with an application to track the light score.

“The biggest challenge to overcome at the moment is the worldwide shortage of electronics components. As a small start-up, it is difficult to operate in these complex global supply chains. The scholarship program provided us with a great product development mentor who was able to connect us with excellent local manufacturers. Additionally, navigating the transition from the university to the industry had us thinking carefully about IP, funding, and how we scale up in a very different environment.”

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship encourages the next generation of health leaders to build strong foundations in commercialisation. In doing so, this program supports the scientific community’s capacity to bring innovation to the market by facilitating knowledge transfer from industry to scientists and researchers.

Mentoring during the program enabled Rowan to start producing devices for sale.
Mentoring during the program enabled Rowan to start producing devices for sale.

“The program connected us with great manufacturers by pairing us with a product development mentor. This was a key milestone in enabling us to organize our first small run batch of manufactured devices. Allowing us to move beyond prototypes and start producing devices for sale. We also had great exposure to investors and the wider ecosystem outside of the university.”

For Rowan, mentorship with Procept was incredibly valuable, as was the advice received from MedTech Actuator CEO, Dr Buzz Palmer and the team. Alongside the 2021 Scholarship, Rowan and team members from SensiLab at Monash University, A/Prof Sean Cain, Dr Andrew Phillips, and Elliott Wilson, took part in MedTech Actuator Origin, taking their innovation through to the semi-finals.


Are you a future MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholar?

Apply now- MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship
Apply now- MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship 2022

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship is an opportunity for scientists, researchers and innovators to explore the world of entrepreneurship, research commercialisation and MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech startups.

“My advice to future Scholars is to make the most out of the experience and the learning opportunities that it provides. Even if your current project is not at the right stage for this journey yet, you never know when the knowledge that this program gives you will be useful in the future.”

Applications are now open for the 2022 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarships. Find out more about the program and apply now.

You can also join MedTech Actuator Program and Community Coordinator, Makenzie Thomas for an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on July 6. Register here.

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The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship is supported by the Menzies Foundation as part of their Entrepreneurship in Science mission