Barbara Barclay discusses RightEye, a health technology company using eye tracking and gaming to revolutionize healthcare and vision performance through innovative vision tests and vision training games. RightEye EyeQ™ helps healthcare providers assess concussions, eyesight, brain and reading disorders, and performance issues in patients by following a science-based, metric-driven methodology.
Barbara Barclay is a recognized expert in the field of eye-tracking with 20 years of experience as a successful business executive. A technology industry expert, she is a frequent speaker at conferences that focus on cutting-edge eye-tracking solutions. Barbara is at the forefront of the eye-tracking field and continues to push the boundaries of this technology across many verticals. As President of RightEye, Barbara is focused on the expansion of the company’s product offerings into new markets and industries. She earned her MBA in Marketing from Kelly School of Business at Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in German and Economics at Vanderbilt University.
Neal Howard: Welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, glad that you could join us on the program. Our guest today is Barbara Barclay, she’s president of RightEye and she’s going to talk with us today about eye tracking and how it’s going to be teamed with gaming to revolutionize health care. Welcome to the program Barbara.
Barbara Barclay: Hi, thank you so much.
Neal: Well I’m very anxious to what eye tracking is and how it’s going to help us all as far as healthcare is concerned. Give us a little bit about your background.
Barbara: So I joined RightEye as a partner back in 2015 but prior to that I had worked in market research and more specifically I ran the North American business for the largest eye tracking technology company so I sort of brought business skills, marketing, sales but also a pretty deep knowledge of the technology and how it’s used.
Neal: Well I am totally unfamiliar with this technology. What does it entail?
Barbara: Well the sort of easy explanation is that when you look at a screen, this technology actually takes images of your eyes and once it’s calibrated to you personally, it can actually tell exactly where your left and right eye are looking on the screen. If you think about it, it’s a little bit like being Superman or superwoman with laser eyes when you’re looking at the screen.
Neal: But your eyes still have to look, both eyes in the same direction. Is there something that lets us know that one eye is looking in one place and one is looking at another?
Barbara: Yeah, so the eye tracking technology actually is taking pictures of the eyes and then it uses something called corneal reflection, it’s looking at the surface of the eye and taking the reflections off the surface and once it knows that about you personally, where you’re looking on the screen, it builds this model and every time you look at a different spot it’s taking let’s say about 90 images per second of each of your eyes until it always knows that your eye is looking here or there because it’s using essentially the mathematics of where your eyes are looking on the screen. Let me rephrase that, it’s using the mathematics of the position of the reflections on your eye to know in real-time where your eyes are looking.
Neal: Now is this screen designed specifically for this or can it be implemented on a computer screen so that you’re looking at say a document and your eyes are performing naturally? Or is this something where you’re in a doctor’s office and it says “Okay now let’s look at the screen, look straight ahead.” How does it operate?
Barbara: Well the architecting technology, there are lots of different types of technologies and the one that we use happens to be embedded in a small all-in-one computer and so when we present for example reading material or a particular type of test to monitor what the eyes are doing, in our case it’s presented on our system. If eye checking in general, is used across the world in lots of research at different universities and there are all sorts of different eye trackers that can either be embedded in a monitor or in a computer or sitting at the base of the monitor and in all cases the commonality is that that device when you’re looking around on the screen, is taking rapid images of the eyes and then marking where you’re looking on the screen in real time.
Neal: Having this eye tracking technology in an office or in a school, how does it help health care providers be better healthcare providers?
Barbara: The real value of what we are doing is that we’ve taken digital tests that are normally conducted for example in an optometrist office, you would go there and they would be checking your eye movement and looking for any kind of abnormalities and they would pretty much hold up a pen or their finger and say “I want you to follow my finger from left to right” or “Follow it in a circle” or “Look left and right between my two fingers as quickly and accurately as you can.” And historically, in any kind of pediatrician’s office, in the optometrist or the ophthalmologist, they’re really using observations to say “That looks kind of normal to me.” And so really a growth problem would be picked up by that professional but even the best professional could never see what we see because what we’re doing is presenting those same exercises so ‘follow my finger in a circle’ or ‘look from left to right’ but on a screen, two dots that you look between or a dot that you follow in a circle and when we record that eye movement we record what the left eye is doing and the right eye is doing in real-time. The information goes straight up into the cloud and you get an instant visual report that says “Hey your overall score is X and your left eye was not doing the same thing as your right eye was doing.” And so very specifically monitoring something that is completely objective for the first time ever. So in a healthcare environment this is really radical in many ways because eye movements and these types of things have really been monitored largely freehand. And in a school environment or a pediatrician’s environment, I would say it’s even more difficult because they don’t have expertise that an optometrist or an ophthalmologist might have and so they’re really just looking for growth movement issues where subtle problems with your left and right eye not teaming together or maybe having a little bit of instability when trying to follow something these, can cause you and I to feel let’s say discomfort when objects are moving quickly around us and so forth. And so having a tool that’s objective in these different environments for the first time gives everyone a common language to talk about.
Neal: What types of conditions can be detected a lot earlier with this technology as opposed to ‘follow my finger’ or ‘follow this pen?’
Barbara: So obviously a lot of doctors are using, they’re not so much using it to detect specific conditions but to help them in their diagnostic process so we have doctors that are looking for eye teaming issues, so eyes working together or … of the eye or you may have a muscular imbalance that causes when you look to the left, one eye is higher than the other. And these are things that can come from prior injuries or they can just be the way that you were born and those are the types of things that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. Similarly you’ll have people who basically they get diagnosed with a concussion somewhere either at the doctor or they go to the Emergency Room but they have ongoing issues that are plaguing them and those issues are these same types of things, either the accuracy of the eyes or the movement pattern of the eye or they’re not aligned properly, etc. But again not easy to see, not easy to diagnose and so it’s a combination of having a doctor who’s trying to diagnose something have extra objective information but it’s also equally and in some ways more important that as a person is recovering from such problems like a concussion or a brain injury or if they have an ongoing neurological issue that would affect the eyes that they’re getting monitored on a stable basis so an intervention can occur when necessary and that this kind of thing can be resolved.
Neal: What about law enforcement applications for this technology? Is it already being implemented or is that something that you see for the future?
Barbara: Good question. For the most part what we’re doing is we’re really working with healthcare professionals, sports teams and the military. We’re not actively working with law enforcement and if we did it would be in the capacity of assessing, for example, we have multiple specific assessments so the sports vision or performance vision assessment, we have a brain health IQ assessment which identifies basically the problems associated with brain injury and other neurological issues that would affect your eye so eye movement problems, we have a functional vision assessment which is looking at normal people, everyday people who have things that are affecting their vision and then we have a reading assessment. And in the police or the law enforcement, I would say that the two primary areas that they would have interest would be on a sports vision or performance vision because you have to be able to look quickly and accurately from left to right or scan your environment or follow objects with complete accuracy in order to shoot accurately or not shoot accurately. You have to have good acuity, you have to have good vision, you have to have more than just 20/20 vision, you have to be able to see an object moving at high speeds accurately. And so all of these things I think apply in law enforcement but really to make sure that professionals in law enforcement really have the visual skills to enable them to be out in the community with maximizing their ability to see and understand what’s going on in real time as quickly as possible and also to be safe.
Neal: Give us a website where we can go and learn some more about RightEye and IQ.
Barbara: righteye.com and all the IQ reports are listed there.
Neal: Great. Well Barbara I’m hoping you’ll come back and give us some more information as the technology expands.
Barbara: oh it’s great to meet you and we’re really looking forward to expanding it. I think especially over the next year, you’ll see a lot more of RightEye especially in the optometry and in rehabilitation areas.
Neal: Great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard in conversation with Barbara Barclay, president of RightEye. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Barbara: Thank you.
Neal: Transcripts and audio are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm