RightEye’s goal is to spot problems, sooner.
The Bethesda company’s cloud-based software platform expands how eye-tracking technology is used and who can access it: It’s designed suites of eye-tracking tests and exercises for a variety of uses, such as improving athletic performance and aiding early autism detection in children.
“When you culminate the science and the platform and the delivery vehicle, ultimately what we’re about is detecting vision and health and performance issues earlier,” said CEO Adam Gross.
RightEye was founded by Gross, who moved to the D.C. area over 20 years ago to begin his entrepreneurial career, and Dr. Melissa Hunfalvay, a former professional tennis athlete, coach and scientist with experience developing eye-tracking therapies and training programs.
Before RightEye, working with eye movement behavior was difficult due to clunky hardware and the enormous amounts of data. The scientific research concerning links between eye movements and aspects of an individual’s health have existed for decades, according to Gross.
“The unique thing about RightEye is our platform that can process any eye movement test or training,” Gross said.
RightEye’s vision tests present stimuli on a computer screen to elicit specific eye movements. The movement data are plugged into software algorithms. The tests are done within minutes and results available immediately.
The tests look for indicators to help with earlier and more accurate detection and intervention of health and performance issues for the patient. That can help prevent misdiagnoses and late diagnoses that require costlier treatments.
In the beginning, RightEye’s biggest challenge was scientifically validating their algorithms, which led them to look for already validated algorithms.
“We learned early on that we don’t have to build everything ourselves,” Gross said. “If we can leverage work from other research institutions, then we can add to our product line a lot faster.”
RightEye has worked with clients from the military and Major League Baseball to individual practitioners around the world. This year the company has begun moving towards the information business.
For example, RightEye’s partnership with Major League Baseball involves providing performance profiles of various prospective athletes via vision tests.
“If you talk to doctors, coaches, trainers, individuals, they’re really looking for the information,” Gross said. “We’re kind of positioning the company to go for that. We’re in the information business of selling these profiles.”
RightEye hopes to bring their platform into patients’ homes.
“We’ll send home a patient with an eye-tracker and he can play eye-tracking games at home,” Gross said. “And because they have this real-time [cloud] platform, the doctor and everyone involved can monitor the compliance and results of the patient.”
In the meantime, RightEye is expanding its inventory of algorithms and tests through acquisitions and in-house development. RightEye recently hired a statistician to help analyze all the data it’s collecting.
“We fully expect we’ll be able to develop our own algorithms just from the data we have and that’s growing at a really rapid clip,” Gross said. “We’re constantly working with an eye on tomorrow.”