Dr Stephen Hicks is a scientist-turned-tech entrepreneur whose pioneering work is changing the lives of people living with visual impairment. An award-winning Oxford neuroscientist, Dr Hicks has spent the past decade researching and inventing at the cutting edge of medical innovation, combining neuroscience, computer vision, augmented reality and wearable technologies to launch two tech startups in this complex and critical field. As co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of OXSIGHT Ltd, he has been the technical genius behind the development of the world’s most affordable, usable and wearable smart glasses, helping improve the sight, quality of life and independence of people suffering from partial blindness. With 200 million people worldwide suffering from central vision loss, including age-related macular degeneration (which means they can only view the world through peripheral vision) Dr Hicks’ inventions are redefining the way people with this condition will be able to experience and interact with the world around them.
Dr Hicks grew up with an innate curiosity about science, technology and the human mind. He loved science fiction and was intrigued by futuristic fields such as cybernetics, robotics and artificial intelligence. But alongside his fascination with the future of tech, he was deeply motivated by a desire to have a positive impact in the here and now. He studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney and then steered himself toward neuroscience, completing his PhD in the Neuroanatomy of Spatial Memory. In 2008, Dr Hicks moved to the UK, to further pursue his research as a fellow in neuroscience and visual prosthetics at the University of Oxford. It was there that the genesis for OXSIGHT was born. The successful research and development of Dr Hicks and his team led to international recognition, and the establishment of the commercial venture in 2016 to develop wearable solutions for anyone living with sight degeneration. With the backing of a Google Global Impact Challenge award and the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation, Dr Hicks and his OXSIGHT co-founders knew they were working on something truly game-changing for people living with vision impairment.
Today, the team includes scientists and clinicians across diverse disciplines, including ophthalmology, neuroscience, computer vision and machine learning, all working together to develop new products that help people live life to the fullest. As the company continues to grow, Dr Hicks has had to grow his own knowledge from academic researcher to global entrepreneur, generating an entirely new market for smart glasses for the vision impaired. The OXSIGHT team have seen huge gains in the evolution of their products which are becoming more and more accessible for individual use. Already, the technology OXSIGHT has developed is proving life changing for early users. Their groundbreaking visual enhancement system, Onyx, was released just last year, providing the world’s lightest and smallest smart glasses to date, which can boost the vision of people with significant impairment, so that they can read, see faces, and interact naturally in the world. These remarkable results are what fuels Dr Hicks’ ongoing efforts to leverage advanced technologies to solve the problem of vision loss. With the ongoing growth in their body of knowledge and enhancements in the technological applications, Dr Hicks is optimistic they will be able to release truly affordable, usable, inobtrusive smart glasses to the world market in just a matter of years.