Optalert’s technology grew out of the research and clinical trials of Dr Murray Johns, a world-renowned authority on sleep medicine. During his 40 years as a clinician, Dr Johns developed a special interest in the state of drowsiness and its associated dangers for people whose very lives depend on them remaining awake at the appropriate time.
His passion for solving the problem of drowsiness led to him developing the world’s first and only technology capable of detecting drowsiness and alertness in real-time using the 10-point John’s Drowsiness Scale (JDS) named after him.
In 1994, the first prototype of Optalert Drowsiness Detection Glasses was created, using patented infrared (IR) reflectance technology to measure eye and eyelid movements.
A new research and development (R&D) company called Sleep Diagnostics Pty Ltd (later to become Optalert Limited) was formed as the owner of the associated intellectual property (IP), and to facilitate its further development.
Optalert Limited raised private equity capital in several steps until 2008.
During its first few years, Optalert carried out commercial prototype testing in-house, as well as in collaboration with independent research organisations, to validate the unique Johns Drowsiness Scale (JDS) in controlled laboratory settings and driving simulator studies.
JDS is named after its inventor and Optalert founder Dr Murray Johns.
Optalert then carried out extensive field testing of the commercial prototype with Australian transport and mining companies.
In 2008, Optalert products became commercially available.
From this point on, Optalert proceeded to develop into a commercial enterprise by adding manufacturing and distribution to the R&D function of the company.
Optalert has continually redefined and improved its software and hardware to exceed market demands, including launching a new military spec ruggedized unit in 2012.
The eagle INDUSTRIAL became the first Optalert product to use existing hardware. Lower installation time and over-the-air software updates meant less down-time and increased productivity for sites across the world. Optalert began talks to license its patented IP and algorithm to other user platforms.
The eagle PORTABLE combined with Bluetooth wireless glasses delivers a world-first, allowing mobile and transferrable all-hour drowsiness detection. This enabled users to be measured in and out of the workplace.
Optalert’s technology was successfully tested on video cameras – even at low sampling rates which opened up the market for integration and licensing opportunities for autonomous and driver-operated vehicles.
Optalert developed the eagle RESEARCH product specifically for large pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials to test the impact of new drugs on wakefulness and sleepiness.
Optalert develops the BlinQTM system, the next generation in measuring drowsiness or wakefulness for pharmaceutical drug trials. The BlinQTM system, incorporates infra-red reflectance blepharometry with patented mathematical algorithms and measurement against the validated JDS. The term blepharometry was introduced by Dr Murray Johns, to define the unique study of measuring eyelid movement, captured through Infra-red reflectance, electro-oculography or video.