The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to advance technologies for vision improvement. Many suffer from undetected problems with moving their eyes for reading, and current technologies do not reveal this in school screenings or sometimes, even in doctor’s offices. This product will be an app designed for smartphones to engage children in games that build skills for optimally using the two eyes together, a critical element in reading ability and visual performance. The innovation will enhance scientific and technological understanding by integrating in one app eye movement, psychophysical, and reading fluency assessment. The technical result will be an all-in-one, portable, easy and fun-to-use solution for improving visual skills and reading in children. It will provide data to learning technologists to improve solutions customized to address conditions, such as dyslexia and autism.

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project addresses the issue of “functional binocular vision” or FBV. When the eyes do not look at exactly the same place, or when they cannot move across a page of text accurately and efficiently, discomfort often occurs. This discomfort causes children in particular to stop reading, affecting their learning. The project aims to develop and test an approach less expensive and more appealing than solutions available today. The proposed app will test existing visual skills (convergence and tracking) and reading fluency, then track the eyes as they move while the user plays games. Users receive points for being able to identify targets; they can only perceive the targets if their eyes are working together correctly. The technology will enable users to get immediate feedback on how they performed in the games (their visual skill level) and how their reading speed (fluency) improves.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Detailed Award Information

Award Information:
Title: SBIR Phase I: Eyes in Sync
ID: 2014229
Effective Date: 06/01/2020
Expiration Date: 05/31/2021
Amount: $225,000

Institution Information:
Name: Eyes in Sync
City: Oakland
State: CA
Country: United States
MSI: Other Institution

Investigator Information:
Role Code: Principal Investigator
Name: Maureen Powers
Email Address:

Organization Information:
Directorate: 4900
Division: NSF

Program Information:
Code: 4900
Text: SBIR Phase I