As time goes on, sports have become more competitive and aggressive than ever. This competitiveness and aggression has become quite concerning to players, physicians and coaches due to the amount of injuries faced by players. Most of these injuries are not detected earlier by physicians, which prolongs the injury even further. On many occasions the undetected injury can cause further health problems if left untreated, thereby cutting short careers of many talented athletes.
Athletes have fleeting careers due to lengthy injuries and their shorter careers have prompted SyncThink, a Boston based neurotech company that was founded in 2009 but launched its first product in February 2016, to create EyeSync, a device that uses infrared and virtual reality to track eye movements that help detect concussions and head trauma under one minute.
EyeSync will soon become a common name as it has given sports physicians an easy diagnostic solution against sports injuries. The device was shown green signal by FDA on 29th January, 2016. The step is taken to provide aid to increased number of athletes getting severely injured due to undiagnosed head trauma.
The device will make use of a virtual reality headset connected to a computer tablet to track athletes’ eye movement. It will then compare results with a baseline to assess severity of the trauma. As concussions affect brain’s neural network, it will essentially test athletes’ visual response time.
The user will put on the headset and will be shown an image of a rotating red circle. The user will use his eyes to follow the circle’s movements. Doctors will then record the data and analyze the visual response time by comparing it to the response times of a normal functioning brain, which will act as the baseline.
As the data is collected at a higher rate, under one minute, athletes’ injury severity level will be quickly assessed. What that means is that players who are diagnosed at an earlier stage will be at a lower risk of worsening their condition by playing while suffering from a concussion.
A top National Football League official acknowledged a link between football-related concussions and the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in testimony at a US Congressional hearing. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that affects professional athletes, and is one of the leading head trauma diseases that athletes face. Statements such as these make football and rugby officials start looking for ways to change their rules and adopt new safety measures to increase athletes’ career times and prevent severe injuries. Regarding this, Dan Beeler, SyncThink chief technology officer, has said, while talking to a reporter from Reuters, “There is much more awareness of the risks out there, a growing acceptance of those risks and ways to mitigate them and our technology can play a part in that.” He further added, “The technology we have built into this device has been developed over the past decade and we have been very careful about it.”
The company has been closely working with the US military and university sports teams on the device, which costs $25,000. The most appealing feature of EyeSync is that it is mobile, which means that team doctors will be able to assess athletes’ performance and run a quick test on the field, without delay. A lot of hard work and dedication has gone into the production of EyeSync, with years of research and countless testing proving its reliability and accuracy.
Given the hype and potential associated with EyeSync, other companies such as Oculogica are looking to invest in sports injury detection equipment. Oculogica is currently working on their own version of a “patent-pending eye tracking technology” to help detect concussions and traumatic brain injury. Given such promising ventures, we can expect a lot of big things to come from the world of sports medicine.
This is a great initiative since it reduces the time and cost of operations. The ability to assess players’ condition on the field is quite brilliant and revolutionary. A lot of injuries become prolonged due to inability to take quick action. EyeSync is one step closer to changing that and bring about a much needed change to the sports industry.