Dr. Tilman Otto
Head of Technology Management for Ophthalmic Devices Heidelberg Engineering
What is your team most excited about right now?
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has revolutionized diagnostics in ophthalmology over the last 15 years, becoming an integral part of almost any patient examination, but it is still far from reaching its limits. There is still tremendous potential in axial and lateral resolution, as well as increased sensitivity and higher speeds. Being part of this process has been hugely inspiring for the Heidelberg Engineering team. In addition to OCT, our team is involved in molecular imaging, such as time-resolved fluorescence, which is also a highly promising technology.
What role does R&D play in Heidelberg Engineering’s success and what are the main challenges in this area?
Heidelberg Engineering is widely known for exceptional image quality and innovative technologies. The expertise and many years of experience in selecting the most appropriate technologies and components, as well as the implementation of innovative concepts, play a key role in our company culture and are crucial to our success. Transforming highly complex technical concepts that border on the limits of what is technically possible into robust and reliable devices suitable for everyday clinical use is a major challenge, which we constantly strive to overcome. We work hard to anticipate the kinds of problems that can potentially arise. Our R&D team has an innovative mindset and the determination to master challenges for the sake of better patient care.
What role does the end user play in your R&D process?
Our mission is to optimize our imaging and healthcare IT technologies to empower clinicians to improve patient care. The user is at the heart of everything we do. Heidelberg image quality, the dynamic visualization of information, and the integrity of data over time are examples of our commitment to clinical excellence. We have always collaborated with researchers and clinicians to find innovative solutions to challenging problems. More recently, we have focused our attention on the performance and usability of our platforms to streamline workflow and increase efficiency.
Who are the unsung heroes within your R&D team?
Experienced and talented developers form an essential core part of R&D, but that alone is not sufficient. There are many other vital team members whose contributions are key: test engineers who verify development results, technical writers who create manuals and service and manufacturing documentation, and the project managers, who motivate everyone to aim higher. It is a team effort!