Seattle Photonics Associates, a recent National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) grant recipient, is developing in-flight retinal imaging technology for possible use in space. The novel imaging technology builds on work supported by Intellectual Ventures’ Invention Science Fund (ISF). The aim is for Seattle Photonics Associates to enhance capabilities to unobtrusively and accurately monitor changes in astronauts’ eyes due to extended exposure to microgravity.

“We are really excited to work with NSBRI along with ISF on a project that makes human space travel safer. The opportunity to expand optical diagnostic capabilities to space-based platforms is technically challenging, however we’re very well positioned with our expertise and experience to be able to leverage much of the new technology in the medical and commercial arenas,” said Ned Nestorovic, President and Chief Optical Officer at Seattle Photonics Associates.

“ISF has developed a number of imaging innovations with exciting applications in the health and medical sectors and we’re proud to work with Seattle Photonics Associates, along with the support of NSBRI, to demonstrate how these innovations can provide benefits in such a unique environment,” said Kate Sharadin a Senior Director at ISF. “The technologies being studied are at the front and center of the future of healthcare delivery where patients will benefit from unobtrusive, passive technologies known as healthcare anytime, anywhere.” ISF is providing Seattle Photonics Associates with a development license pertaining to the novel imaging technology on which the study is based.

“This type of partnership facilitated by the Space Medical And Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) grant is exactly what is needed to attain space-relevant medical solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner. We approached ISF and Seattle Photonics with this out-of-this-world challenge because we believe that they can deliver,” said Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Deputy Chief Scientist and Industry Forum Lead for NSBRI.

The proof of concept of the novel imaging technology being developed by Seattle Photonic Associates is scheduled for demonstration by mid-2017. If operationalized, this technology may have utility in the early diagnosis of the pathology developed by some astronauts during long duration missions on the International Space Station.


NSBRI, a 501(c)(3) organization partnered with NASA, is studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing the technologies and countermeasures needed for human space exploration missions. The Institute’s science, technology and career development projects take place at approximately 60 institutions, distributed across the United States. For more information, please visit . The Industry Forum engages the private sector to develop medical products for both space and Earth through commercialization activities and seed funding. For media inquiries, please contact Graham B.I. Scott, Ph.D. Vice President, Chief Scientist & Institute Associate Director, NSBRI. 713-798-7227.

About Seattle Photonics Associates

Over the last 15 years Seattle Photonics Associates has helped clients find solutions to a wide variety of challenges in many different optical systems. These solutions have ranged from low cost off the shelf recommendations for commercial products, to highly detailed analyses on complex space based platforms. We have worked independently to help our clients, and we have also worked on-site with the engineering teams of our clients.

About Intellectual Ventures

Intellectual Ventures is a global inventions company. Founded in 2000, we provide the world’s most innovative companies with access to valuable patents and invention related services while creating a wide range of technology-focused partnerships and wholly new companies. Our Invention Science Fund supports 11 of the top 50 U.S. inventors in history, inventing, developing and commercializing breakthrough inventions in fields as broad as agriculture, energy, healthcare, metamaterials, advanced applications of physics and more. These inventions have led to an array of spinout companies and products that have received hundreds of millions of investment dollars. For press inquiries, please contact For all other inquiries, please contact or follow us on Twitter @IVinvents.