Inside manufacturing: industry regenerating with Re-Timer

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By David Russell

Sleep cycle research 25 years in the making is helping reskill Adelaide’s automotive industry, with local rear-vision mirror manufacturer SMR diversifying into the production of an innovative sleep therapy device.

Re-timer is a light therapy device designed to change your sleep–wake patterns by emitting green light onto the eyes.

“That light sends a signal to the part of the brain responsible for controlling your sleep cycle,” Re-timer CEO Ben Olsen told Inside South Australia.

“So 30 minutes use a day wearing this device… will adjust the times that you sleep.”

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SMR is a shareholder in Re-Timer, along with Flinders University, where the research behind the device was started 25 years ago.

“In terms of taking it to the next step, we spent a good two years designing a product and building a business around it to commercialise the device… we’ve been actively selling the product now for three years.”

Re-Timer, which is based at the Flinders University Tonsley facility, has been growing by around twenty-five per cent annually since its launch. The majority of Re-Timers are sold overseas, with approximately eighty-five per cent being exported. China and the US are key markets.

“There are plans to take it elsewhere… we’re looking at a couple of different countries to open new offices in at the moment… the most significant opportunities for growth exist in those other markets, for our core product and also future iterations of those products.”

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Those iterations include a new app that produces data from a fit bit and uses an algorithm to identify the best time to use Re-timer to improve sleep.

Despite its huge success in international markets, Re-Timer will continue to be based in Adelaide.

“We could operate this business anywhere in the world… we choose to operate in Adelaide (because) the tech is from here, and lifestyle-wise it’s a great place to live. The revenue we generate, regardless of where that is or what currency it’s in, it comes back to Adelaide.

“Adelaide is a great place to start a business… and I would happily do it again. There is a lot of really interesting things happening in Adelaide at the moment which don’t get a lot of oxygen. For people who want to start their own business in Adelaide, there’s more than enough opportunity to do so.

“It feels like it’s changed in the past five years… more than anything it’s driven by people, and old things falling over. That puts the emphasis on finding new opportunities. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that… old things fall away and new things come about.”

Re-Timer can be purchased online at re-timer.com

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