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Local optician’s invention makes national news


It’s a well known fact that the British are an inventive race of people and many of the world’s greatest inventions were first thought out on our tiny islands. Take the television for example, invented by Scotland’s own son John Logie Baird. Unfortunately history has also shown that on many ocassions our creativeness and inventiveness have been hijacked by somebody else from another country.


The idea is generally taken, developed a bit more and is sold to the rest of the world with the poor old Brit often none-the-richer. Looking back at Baird’s ingenious invention, we see exactly this point demonstrated; In 1927, Baird demonstrated colour television and a video-recording system he called a "Phonovision". In 1928, Baird made the first transatlantic television transmission and a year later he started regular 30-line mechanical broadcasts. In 1936, the invention took off and the BBC started the world’s first regular high-definition service from Alexandra Palace using Baird's system. In 1937, just one year later, it was abandoned in favour of a system developed by Marconi-EMI.


John Logie Baird


Colin West (left) present Rob Jones with a Volk examinaton lens resounding victory with nearly half of the votes.


His idea was to create a ground-breaking type of imaging gonioscope, that would make it easier for eye specialists to document and monitor the front chamber of the eye, meaning better treatment and management of certain eye conditions. Judges were impressed: “Rob Jones’ entry sparked the imagination of the judging panel because he addressed the challenge" said Colin West, Keeler’s Business Development Manager. "He had a novel hardware and software approach that he proved in principle with a working prototype. He took a genuine problem, designed a solution and tested it with a prototype - it was exactly what we were looking for".


History is sadly littered with such unfortunate incidents for British inventors but perhaps local optician Rob Jones, owner of award winning Parley Optometrists, and senior Optometrist at the Royal Bournemouth hospital may fare better. Mr Jones recently won a national innovation competition that was run by ‘The Optician’ (the national journal for opticians), and 'Keeler' one of the worlds leading optical equipment manufacturers. The competition had many entries nationally, but judges narrowed it down to five candidates and their ideas. These five were then put to an online poll which included peers within optical circles as well as the public at large. Rob's innovation claimed a


With Rob’s permission, his idea was sent to Volk Optical in the USA (a sister company of Keeler & world leading manufacturers), for consideration. Unfortunately, whilst it was recognised as an excellent idea, they considered that the need for an additional digital imaging system and software may not lead to commercially viable sales volumes. Volk added that this situation may change as the numbers of digital examination microscopes used routinely grows in the future. For the sake of Great Britain, let's hope that Rob and his pioneering spirit doesn't suffer the same fate as other British inventors such as Baird who've gone before him!


Colin presented Rob with the prize of a Volk examination lens that he can use in practice for the benefit of his own patients. Rob said, “I am delighted with the


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