Wired In: Andrew Zhang

Wired In: Andrew Zhang

Each week, staff writer Paul Wood talks with a different high-tech difference maker. This week, meet ANDREW ZHANG is a senior engineer at Champaign's PhotoniCare, a company that specializes in affordable health care equipment, such as an otoscope, which physicians use to look inside the ear.

You've worked developing advanced optical systems for biomedical applications. What's a project you've completed recently?

During my time at PhotoniCare, besides the development of our product, I also developed a state-of-art OCT otoscopic system with pneumatic capability (with response to pressure changes) for a client of our company.

At the University of Washington department of bioengineering, you working on ophthalmic systems. Isn't that a PhotoniCare specialty?

Yes. We are a bunch of engineers that specialize in developing optical system for biomedical applications.

You've also been at Johns Hopkins College of Medicine. What have you learned from direct experience with healthcare providers?

New technology is emerging every day, however it is not easy to change the management of a certain disease. Some healthcare providers are passionate about what a new technique can bring to both the providers and the patients, and are willing to collaborate for test trials. However, it will take years to change how the disease is managed. That's why I think what we are doing now is revolutionary and beneficial to patients throughout the country.

Tell us about your patents.

One of my patents is about endoscopic OCT for (low light) imaging such as an airway or the GI tract. Two are related to ophthalmic OCT. I am also involved in the patent generation and filing in PhotoniCare for the otoscopic OCT system.

PhotoiCare has a history of making low-cost health solutions. You're passionate about making a real impact on healthcare quality for children like his own. How many children do you have, and how old are they?

I have two boys, 5 years old and 7 months old.

You like hiking, fishing and soccer. How do you find the time?

Yeah. The situation did change a little after my second boy was born. I used to either play soccer on Saturday or go fishing on Sunday. Currently we will first choose family hiking. Relaxing activity at weekends is very important for the work at the weekdays.

What's your best advice for someone who's starting up?

Don't be afraid of challenges, rather welcome challenges.

TECH TIDBITS ... from ANDREW ZHANG

Twitter handle, or Facebook or LinkedIn? I do use LinkedIn to keep updated with my peers in the medical industry.

Book or Kindle? What are you reading right now? Not yet. I will be pursuing an MBA degree from the university very soon (2018 fall cohort). I do imagine that I will have a lot of business related books to read.

Do you have any wearable electronics? Yes. But I only use it at night for a "silent" alarm in the morning.

Do you have an entrepreneur hero? Elon Musk.

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