New smartphone app developed to detect concussion and brain injuries

Engineering

A new smartphone app that can aid the diagnosis of concussion and brain injuries has been developed, with a wide range of potential medical applications.

The PupilScreen app was created by a team from the University of Washington to detect changes in a pupil's response to light by utilising a smartphone's video camera and deep learning tools to quantify changes imperceptible to the human eye.

“US researchers have developed a new smartphone app with the capability to detect concussion and brain injuries.“

This pupillary light reflex can be used to assess whether a patient has a severe traumatic brain injury or milder concussions, with the app offering nearly the same performance as dedicated pupillometers found in hospitals.

Using PupilScreen, it will be possible for brain injuries to be quickly detected on the sports field, in combat situations or in the home when an elderly person has a fall, by users with no medical training.

Lead author Alex Mariakakis, a doctoral student at the university's Paul G Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, said: "We want every parent, coach, caregiver or EMT who is concerned about a brain injury to be able to use it on the spot without needing extra hardware."

A commercially available version of PupilScreen is expected to be released within two years.

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