OLD SCHOOL VISUALIZATION
January 6, 2020
The LEAF Photocoagulator, From Cardboard to Commercial
Pioneering the Ophthalmic Industry’s Most Compact Laser
For the last three years, the entire Norlase team has worked tirelessly to develop a product that would offer ophthalmologists unique value at a competitive price point. Recently, we had the pleasure of launching the LEAF (Lightweight, Efficient, Affordable, Flexible) ophthalmic photocoagulator at the 2019 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Seeing the fruits of our labor unveiled at the industry’s biggest conference is both inspiring and humbling. I am inspired to continue driving the success of LEAF and humbled to work with so many bright, talented colleagues.
For my first official blog post, I thought I would share a fun story illustrating what it’s like to work with some of the industry’s most talented individuals. It involves cardboard, a pocketknife, and a dream.
Old School Visualization, Modern Innovation
When our engineers first shared the LEAF’s technical specifications with me in 2017, I was almost in disbelief. Our goal had always been to create a compact, portable laser system. But when the specs were handed to me, I had a hard time conceptualizing it. In hindsight, there were two reasons. First, even given our high expectations, the final design remained impressive in execution. Second, as a self-professed “old school” eye professional, conceptualizing through digital design has never been my forte.
To better understand what I was looking at, I made a quick visit to the laboratory and grabbed the first cardboard box I could find (many thanks to Thor Labs). Using a pocketknife, I cut out a mockup device using the measurements provided by the lab team. I then outfitted it to an old laser adapter, and voila – the first three-dimensional LEAF concept was validated. Although our engineers likely considered me a philistine (and probably still do), the mockup served as a useful model during the early days of research and development.
Passion That’s Here to Stay
Most days, working with brilliant colleagues involves getting hands on with “new school” tools and technologies. But sometimes, doing things the old-fashioned way provides quick results – even if it makes you look unhip (one of these days, I’ll figure out how to work those cool 3D printers).
Jokes aside, the successful launch of LEAF as a product – and Norlase as a company – is a remarkable thing to witness, and an even more remarkable thing to be a part of. It’s the passion of our team that laid the stellar foundation we have today, and that will carry our banner forward as we become a household name in the eye care market.