Varjo and machineMD partner to develop VR-based eye-tracking solution for the diagnosis of brain disorders

In Virtual Reality News

March 7, 2023 – Varjo, a provider of professional-grade virtual and extended reality (VR/XR) hardware and software, has this week announced its partnership with machineMD, a Swiss medical device company, for the development of Neos, a diagnostic device being developed for the early diagnosis of brain disorders.

Neos will be integrated with the Varjo Aero headset to enable a complete, standardized, and instrument-based neuro-ophthalmologic examination using the headset’s built-in VR-based eye tracking solution.

“As a neuro-ophthalmologist, I use the eye as a window to the brain,” said Prof. Mathias Abegg, Medical Director of machineMD and Neuro-Ophthalmologist. “The Varjo Aero provides me with the most powerful and precise view through this window.”

According to the companies, today, neuro-ophthalmic examinations are mostly performed manually and physicians need years of specialist training. Examinations are time-consuming and results are largely qualitative. Altogether, this can lead to frequent incorrect or late diagnoses, meaning there is untapped potential for new medical devices to better support healthcare professionals working in this field.

machineMD was founded to bring the diagnostic quality of highly trained specialists to a wide range of doctors and healthcare workers. The results that the company’s platform provides are quantitative, objective and reproducible, and can be sent to clinics and specialists via telemedicine, enabling remote diagnosis and reducing examination time from 45 to 10 minutes, according to machineMD.

Varjo stated that the use of its Varjo Aero device marks the first time that the medical community is leveraging a VR headset to measure eye tests to aid the diagnosis of brain disorders. The key component behind Neos is Varjo’s integrated eye tracking technology that is optimized to track and study eye movements in human-eye resolution.

Varjo’s proprietary eye tracking technology is video-based, leveraging two built-in, high-speed cameras and infrared illumination to capture images of a user’s eyes at 200 hertz while measuring information such as pupil position, pupil dilation, interpupillary distance (IPD), focus or fixations, eye-motion patterns and more. Varjo’s eye tracking solution utilizes infrared illumination patterns, which allow for more precise and consistent results – even with the use of eyeglasses, according to the company.

“VR-based eye tracking in combination with ophthalmology and neuroscience is opening up  important new avenues for researchers and the larger medical community,” said Seppo Aaltonen, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Varjo. “A rare window into the brain is possible with the Varjo Aero headset and we are proud to partner with machineMD to make this technology a reality.”

Varjo and machineMD stated that development of Neos is advancing rapidly, with ongoing research studies at The University Hospital of Bern and several other clinics currently underway. machineMD recently raised CHF 5 million in seed funding and noted that it is on track to launch Neos by the end of 2023.

For more information on Varjo and its virtual reality and eye tracking technology, click here. To find out more about machineMD and its eye testing solutions for brain disorder diagnosis, click here.

Image / video credit: Varjo / machineMD / YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.