It was the adversity of her son losing his vision that inspired Perth entrepreneur Esther Oh to develop her medical technology, which she believes can reduce human errors, time delays and knowledge gap.
The mother-of-two founded Agili8 in August 2020 after her 16-year-old son caught an unknown virus which saw him get passed around from specialist to specialist, ultimately causing irreversible damage to his eyesight.
“I contacted (ophthalmology) professors in the US but with the lockdowns, we couldn’t travel, we could only send images via email and that was when I realised that the current telehealth system is very frustrating and limiting to the clinicians, patients and their carers,” Ms Oh said.
“I decided to find a cost-effective and efficient way to capture valuable information using the smart glasses with deep-learning capabilities with the goal to reduce human errors, time delays and expertise gap.”
After seeing a professor at the Lions Eye Institute, Ms Oh realised her son’s vision could have been saved if treatment occurred earlier.
Agili8 provides extended reality and artificial intelligence-enabled smart glasses which connect frontline health workers via a mobile app to a web platform to remote experts.
It allows the specialists to see, zoom, draw and highlight on the frontliner’s vision.
Ms Oh said the objective of the tech was to deliver knowledge on-demand and in real-time and to transcend distance, travel and exorbitant costs.
“The frontliner becomes the hands of the experts who could be 500km away. I could’ve had a doctor in the US treating my son in Perth,” Ms Oh said.
Agili8 is connecting frontline clinicians to remote specialists enabling telehealth to be delivered in regional, remote and Indigenous communities.
Due to confidentiality agreements in place, Ms Oh is unable to disclose the company’s client lists but said it is working with high-profile businesses and organisations around the world.
Looking ahead, Ms Oh plans to grow the business in WA initially before targeting an expansion in the eastern states and globally.
“We want to be developing and stress-testing our innovation because WA, especially remote WA, has one of the harshest environment,” Ms Oh said.
“We definitely would like this technology to be used as the preferred telehealth system.”
Agili8 became the first industry founding partner for networking educational program VentureX HQ, with the Singapore-born entrepreneur voicing her desire to attract the best talents and businesses to work with them.
“We want to prove that you don’t have to be a billion-dollar unicorn or philanthropist to give back. Small startups can make big differences too,” Ms Oh said.
In 2021, the company was recognised at the AusIndustry Business Innovation Award when it took home the cybersecurity technology category.