citybiz+ Microsoft-backed Oculogica Raises $7.6M to Advance Device to Test Concussion

New York-based Oculogica, which has developed a device to help evaluate concussion, raised $7.6 million from unidentified investors, according to a listing on Crunchbase. Prior investors in the company include TitletownTech, a joint fund established by Microsoft and Green Bay Packers.

So far, Oculogica has raised $25.3 million in funding, and won grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the FDA.

‘Leap Forward’ in Concussion Testing

Founded in 2013 by Dr. Uzma Samadani, a neurosurgeon at Centracare and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Oculogica uses eye movements to evaluate potential concussion caused by injuries to the head or body, especially in contact sports such as football and boxing. The company, led by Samadani’s sister Rosina, has built a tiny device, called EyeBox, that runs a 4-minute non-invasive test to evaluate concussion. Both sisters are fans of Green Bay Packers.

“Our EyeBox device offers a leap forward in concussion diagnosis. We are particularly excited to be launching this during Brain Injury Awareness Month,” Oculogica CEO Rosina Samadani, a former McKinsey executive with a Ph. D in biomechanical engineering, said at the launch of the diagnostic tool in 2022. “The lightweight form factor and battery operation allow it to be easily transported. Concussions happen everywhere and our latest device was designed with that in mind.”

The FDA-approved EyeBox is a lightweight, battery-operated device that fits in a backpack. It uses a novel eye-tracking technology developed by AdHawk Microsystems to monitor the eye movements of patients, as they watch a four-minute video. With over 100,000 data points captured during the exercise, EyeBox uses an algorithm to evaluate potential damage caused by concussion and provides results in minutes.

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Objective Evaluation
The EyeBox test is based on non-voluntary movements of the eye, and not based on a subjective assessment, like how you feel, or how well you can remember a set of words, or answer a math problem, Rosina pointed out. “We are measuring something physiological, that you can’t voluntarily alter. That’s what we mean by objectivity,” added the MIT alum and healthcare technology veteran.

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Uzma identified eye movements as a way of evaluating concussion in 2010, after watching awake but unresponsive patients respond to visual stimuli, such as watching TV. “We found people lacked the anatomical integrity to move their eyes in different patterns, that eye tracking could assess physiologic functions of the brain. That was the breakthrough,” she told Green Bay Press Gazette in 2020.

Over 10 million people annually are impacted by concussion, according to Oculogica. The Centers for Disease Control estimates millions of emergency visits each year on account of concussion injuries.