Brainwave to brilliant innovation
Geoff Watts enthuses about the work of Medical Futures
- By: Geoff Watts
It was in the 1950s that Roger Armour, then a medical student in Lahore, began thinking about ophthalmoscopes. Why, he wondered, were they so complicated and so expensive? Couldn't these useful instruments be simpler and cheaper? Fast forward half a century and the answer is “yes.” A Cambridge company, Ophthalmos (www.ophthalmos.co.uk), now makes a pocket sized, lens-free ophthalmoscope that sells for half the price of a conventional instrument. It's a direct descendant of Armour's original idea (box 1)-and the man himself, now in his 70s, is one of the company's directors.
Not all such innovative ideas take quite so long to reach maturity. But set against that is another sorry observation: many ideas, probably most, go nowhere at all. Doctors who might have done a service to themselves and to medicine-who might even have developed what could prove to be a second or a parallel career-abandon their idea. Overwhelmed by