MD+DI narrowed the field of eligible candidates to 10 finalists. But one company, Second Sight Medical Products, stood out from the pack, thanks to the FDA approval of its innovative retinal prosthesis system earlier this year.
Hailed as the world's first bionic eye, the Argus II was developed to return a measure of vision to patients affected by retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease that often results in complete blindness in both eyes. The by-product of more than a decade of development, the system consists of a pair of glasses equipped with a video camera, a video processing unit, and a miniature implant. Placed close to the retina, the implant receives the signal from the video processor and stimulates the retina using mild electric pulses.
"A truly visionary company, Second Sight has realized the seemingly fantastical feat of restoring sight to the blind," said Shana Leonard, executive editor of the UBM Canon MedTech Group. "As evidenced by the overwhelming support for the company by our editors and readers alike, the potential impact of this technology can't be understated."
Interestingly enough, MD+DI's readers also selected Second Sight Medical Products as this year's Medical Device Manufacturer of the Year in an inaugural online Readers' Choice poll. Garnering 45.9% of the vote, Second Sight Medical Products similarly won readers over with its groundbreaking technology. "Restoring sight to the blind! How can that not be the most incredible device manufactured this year?" asked one reader. Another reader wrote, "What's cooler than bionic eyes?"
The runner-up from MD+DI's Readers' Choice poll was X2 Biosystems, the developer of wearable impact sensors that can be used to monitor for concussions. Such a device can help save lives by detecting and managing brain trauma and preventing debilitating circumstances from occurring.
The third-place winner in MD+DI's Readers' Choice poll, with 12.5% of the vote, was medtech giant Medtronic, which made waves this year by changing course to focus more on patient monitoring and disease management.