Concussions are no joke -- just ask Cam Newton -- but a new diagnostic system developed in conjunction with Stanford University could revolutionize the way these head injuries are determined. The Eye-Sync, from the SyncThink company, uses a modified VR headset and custom software running on a consumer tablet to diagnose concussions in just one minute.
The system has patients look through the VR headset, which has been modified to track their eyes, and follow a small red dot as it rotates around a circular path. The less the patient is able to accurately follow the dot, the more likely they're concussed. This reading can either be taken as a one-off and compared against the device's database of 10,000 individuals or compared to the person's existing baseline for greater accuracy.
I was afforded a brief demonstration of the Eye-Sync system at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Monday. The process is straightforward. You hold the headset up to your eyes, wait a few seconds for the system to calibrate, then you look at a spinning red dot. That data is immediately crunched on a connected tablet (in this case, a Microsoft Surface) and displayed onscreen as a heatmap of where you were looking. If you are within bounds, the heatmap looks like you've tried to draw a circle freehand. If you're concussed, it will look like you've tried to draw a circle freehand on an Etch-A-Sketch.
Obviously, this isn't going to completely replace existing protocols but it does offer an efficient and rapid way of helping doctors determine the extent of your injury. Stanford's football program has already adopted this technology, hopefully the pro system will take notice and do the same.