Although concussions can have very serious consequences, they're also difficult to diagnose without the proper equipment. As a result, we've seen a variety of technologies aimed at helping athletic coaches to determine if players who have received knocks to the head are indeed concussed. One of the latest such systems, EyeGuide's Focus, promises to deliver results in just 10 seconds.
To use the system, each athlete begins the playing season by taking a test.
This involves putting on an eye-tracking headset, positioning their face against an included chin rest, then watching a moving white dot on an iPad screen. As that dot moves in a figure-8 pattern, they follow it with their eyes. The headset records those eye movements, then sets them as that person's normal baseline.
Later on in the season, should they get thumped on the noggin, their coach can immediately call them to the sidelines and administer another test. If their eye movements are significantly "sloppier" than their previously-established baseline, then the coach knows that neurological impairment is likely, and can get medical help for them as soon as possible.
Additionally, when the player is first setting their baseline, their eye movements are compared to those of other players already stored in a database. If their movements are suspiciously less sharp than average, another test can be advised. In this way, players are discouraged from purposely fudging the baseline in order to avoid being taken out of play when a genuine concussion occurs later on.
EyeGuide is currently raising production funds for Focus, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$1,500 will get you (or your school) a system, when and if they're ready to go.
Focus is demo'd in the video below.
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