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Heru, which is building a tool that uses AI and commercial AR/VR headsets to diagnose eye conditions and vision loss, raises $30M Series A led by D1 Capital (Conor Hale/FierceBiotech)

The traditional eye chart poster is now getting an update, with newcomer Heru intending to make vision tests a virtual reality.

The spinout of the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has secured $30 million to start its work, thanks to a series A fundraising effort led by D1 Capital Partners with backing from SoftBank Ventures Opportunity Fund and Krillion Ventures.

This round was also led by surgeons who have had robotic surgery. Frederic Moll, co-founder of Intuitive Surgical and Auris Health, as well as Maurice Ferre, chairman of Mako Surgical, Memic Innovative Surgery, and Insightec, as well as Heru itself

“As an organization that was born out of the vibrant tech industry in Miami, it’s fascinating to observe how Heru is taking on an industry that has remained mostly the same for generations, even despite huge technological advances in the field of medicine generally,” said Ferre, who was also part of its $2.7 million seeding round debut in December.

Heru’s first intention is to provide an advanced vision test that could be performed almost anywhere. It uses an earpiece that tracks the interactions of a patient with various types of stimuli and also offers eye health providers the option to pay per use.

The company plans to expand into augmented reality applications using software that is designed to customize vision correction using cameras that are already available on the market, like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s Hololens. Magic Leap and Microsoft’s Hololens to fill in the gaps that exist in the field of vision.

Other companies, including the French Pixium Vision developer, have implanted implants for the correction of vision loss. A miniature camera attached to glasses transmits information to a tiny chip that is implanted in the retina’s back and replicates the electrical signals that are sent out by the optic nerve.
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