They say the eyes are the window into one’s soul – Perhaps they can also be a window into one’s mental and physical condition. It is a medically known phenomenon that the last motor skill an individual possess is the control and movement of their eyes and eye lids. If we can harness this ability to “read” one’s innermost statistics, then we could obtain a direct line into the patient's true condition without the noise created by secondary interpretation.
Before a patient is released from a hospital it would be desirable to have a quick but accurate way to assess the patient’s ability to function outside of the medical institution. One very clean way to check a person’s mental and physical awareness is by measuring various reaction times and movements, then compare them to known outcomes.
Imagine if you will a patient that is about to be released but is first given a pair of spectacle-like glasses with multiple sensors to wear for a few minutes. These glasses would be blacked out and once activated, they would start a series of sounds, lights, images and signals that the patient would follow and react to. The temperature and pulse would be recorded via nose and ear contact pads. This data generated from these various reaction times, iris motion as well as eye and head movements and directions would be gathered by way of an elaborate series of accelerators, temperature and pulse sensors, speakers, microphones, moisture and light sensors and motion detectors. This data would then be transferred through the air (WiFi) and analyzed at a central location, saving various caregiver's time. A sophisticated algorithm would be developed to compare this data to known quantities to provide a statistically confident determination of the patient’s short term functional abilities and therefore the likelihood of a readmission. As data bases grow the confidence levels would increase.
Reaction time is a strong indicator of one’s physical and cognitive acuteness and alertness. What if the glasses flashed a light to the left and the motion sensor recorded the reaction time and pattern for the patient’s eyes to move to that position. Next a voice tells the patient what to do, turn to the right, an accelerometer checks the reaction speed, pauses, time and smoothness of the movement – these are all indicators of the person’s likelihood of inducing further complications. An internal speaker could say,” please follow the lights”, then a trail of lights would pace across say the left eye and again, data collected.
As a practical matter, The glasses would be up loadable so new tests or even specifics types of tests could be programmed. They would also need to be adjustable so a wide variety of individuals would be comfortable while wearing them.
Submitted by Thomas Culp, P.E.
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