Eye Tracked Virtual Reality for Remote Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Disease
A low-cost telemedicine tool featuring a virtual reality (VR) interface has been designed and developed to assist with the evaluation and diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease, thereby enabling greater access to care and earlier diagnosis for patients with neurological disorders; even for those in remote areas, or with limited transportation options.
Telemedicine enables health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely by leveraging information technology, virtual simulations, and telecommunications. For many neurological disorders, early and accurate diagnosis is problematic. A number of neuroimaging techniques are useful for helping to diagnose neurodegenerative conditions, but many patients have limited access to the appropriate health care providers and facilities because of their remote locations and limited transportation options. These circumstances often lead to delayed diagnosis, which often worsens the prognosis and can prevent effective treatment.
The technology is a telemedicine tool that is useful for diagnosing neurological disorders in patients with limited access to medical care.
The invention uses a commercially available VR display with an infrared camera integrated into the lens. It also employs a 3D environment to emulate common tasks used to evaluate patients such as fixating on a point, conducting smooth pursuit of an object or executing saccades. These tasks are commonly used to elicit specific eye movements which expose characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases and the ability stimulate and observe, track and analyze these signals remotely without the presence of a physician is an advancement to the art of neurodiagnostics using telemedicine.
This telemedicine platform is designed to be low-cost. Reports indicate that telemedicine utilization in the field of neurology is expected to grow significantly in the years to come, and that cost is a major factor towards adoption.
The potential competitive advantage of this invention is its ability to enable remote neurological diagnosis on a low-cost, portable VR device that can visualize eye movements in videos and interface with the physician who is in a different location than the patient. This can result in more accurate diagnoses, less time spent on making a correct diagnosis for the physician, and lower transportation costs for patients.
The invention is specifically useful for remote neurodiagnostic applications, but the platform might be expanded to diagnose other disorders stemming from observations and symptoms common to these disorders.