[Korea Economy] Cellico attracts investment for ‘electronic eyes for the visually impaired’

Development of vision restoration image sensor

Social venture company Celico announced on the 30th that it had attracted seed investment. Celico is a tech startup that develops electronic eye medical devices for the visually impaired. This investment was led by tech accelerator (startup incubation company) Future Play, and jointly participated by Korea Science & Technology Holdings and KST-Shinhan Laboratory Startup No. 1 Investment Association.


Celico is a startup founded in 2019 by Professor Kim Jeong-seok of Gachon University. Professor Kim is a person who made his name known in the industry by participating in the world’s first artificial retina production project for three years with Second Sight, an American medical device company. The electronic eye being developed by Celico is a device that inserts an image sensor chip into the optic cell layer damaged by retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration. The light detected by the image sensor is converted into bioelectrical signals to restore the vision of visually impaired patients.


Celico, which has secured image sensor design technology, is focusing on product miniaturization to make electronic eye implantation feasible. The corrected visual acuity of the electronic eye under development is at a maximum of 0.2. We plan to launch the product in the second half of 2023.


In addition, Celico holds a number of intellectual property rights (IP), including a transmission and reception device for wirelessly supplying power data to an implanted electronic eye device and augmented reality glasses for vision correction. Its technological prowess has been consistently recognized in the industry, including being selected as a ‘2021 Pangyo Startup Zone Incubator Company’.


Professor Kim said, “Through this investment, the development of electronic eye products has gained momentum.” Jeong Ye-sol, a future play judge who made the investment, said, “The number of people with retinal diseases is rapidly increasing due to the aging population, so once the product is launched, we will be able to secure a strong position in the global industry.”


Reporter Gu Min-ki kook@hankyung.com