Saccadous sees promising concussion results with virtual reality eye tracking technology


Phoenix Business Journal  Oct 8, 2017

Saccadous Inc. is making progress on its virtual reality eye-tracking technology to track concussions.

A 2014 spinout of the Barrow Neurological Institute, the Scottsdale-based company is collecting data and refining its software and online-based platform for analytics and reporting.

"To that end, we added our technology into five ongoing trials/institutional review boards — not just here locally but across the U.S.," said Craig Caffarelli, CEO and co-founder of Saccadous.

In August, the company baseline tested 100 college athletes before their fall sports season. Shortly after the baseline testing, one athlete suffered a severe head injury and was hospitalized. Saccadous re-tested that athlete three times and found a major difference in eye tracking abilities.

There's been movement among other eye-tracking competitors. Last December, Google bought Eyefluence and Facebook bought the Eye Tribe, while Apple recently bought SensoMotoric Instruments.

Those acquisitions created partner and investor interest as well as momentum in the industry, Caffarelli said.

"We are very excited about the capabilities that a virtual reality environment combined with 3-D stimulus has now given us," Caffarelli said. "Using a VR headset, we can now control the light for pupil tests, expand and control the subjects' field of view, and have digitalized tests that require 3-D — like a near point convergence test."

For the past two years, Saccadous had worked with Scottsdale-based TBI Diagnostics to incorporate TBID's concussion expertise. This summer, Saccadous acquired TBID, gaining its intellectual property and licensing deals in exchange for stock in Saccadous, Caffarelli said.

Today, the combined companies employ five people.

The Saccadous technology is used to non-invasively detect neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's disease

Six Local Startups Take the Stage at Get Started Arizona


Cox Business, in partnership with Startup Tucson and Idea Funding, selected six finalists for the 2017 Get Started Arizona business pitch competition. Each startup will have three minutes to deliver their best pitch “Shark Tank” style to an illustrious panel of small business experts to win a $25,000 prize package. Audience members will vote for their favorite startup to receive the Audience Choice Award and $1,000. Tucson residents can register to join the live audience free at

Tuesday, October 17 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

·         6:45 p.m.: live pitching from small businesses begins

·         8:00 p.m.: winner announced

Leo Rich Theater, 260 South Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701

Finalists include Oat Mama, PlasmaGlide, Saccadous, Hivemetric, Emagine Solutions Technology and Lum.AI.

The expert business evaluators include:

o   Rod Lewis, Director of Marketing, Cox Business – Moderator

o   Greg Teesdale, Entrepreneur and CFO, Tempronics

o   Remy Arteaga, Director, McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Arizona

o   Tom Curzon, Partner, Osborn Maledon

o   Cindy Jordan, Entrepreneur and Founder, Pyx Health

o   Angela Kapp, Board Director of Crew Knitwear and aCommerce

Scottsdale startups team up for dementia research

Scottsdale - April 13, 2017  -  Researchers from two Scottsdale based companies, SMART Brain Aging, Inc. and Saccadous, Inc. are seeking men and women between the ages of 65-75 to participate in a Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) research study to determine the effectiveness of cognitive exercises designed to reduce or stabilize the symptoms of dementia.  Participants will also help validate and test new innovative methods of early diagnosis.

A person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's or another dementia.   Mild cognitive impairment causes cognitive changes that are serious enough to be noticed by the individuals experiencing them or to other people, but the changes are not severe enough to interfere with daily life or independent function. 

“We find that there is a strong correlation between amnestic MCI and the progression to Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Dr. John DenBoer, CEO of Smart Aging, Inc.  “Finding ways to non-invasively detect aMCI can give us a head start on interventions that may treat or slow the progression of the disease.”

Research indicates that 1 in 3 men and 1 in 2 women will suffer from dementia by age 85. Researchers from Barrow’s Neurological Institute (Dignity Health) have discovered new methods for diagnosing and differentiating neurological disorders by measuring characteristics of involuntary eye movements, called microsaccades.  Clinicians from Smart Brain Aging have identified new cognitive exercises that have the potential to curb the effects of dementia. 

The duration of the study is one year, and a minimum of 100 subjects will be required to participate.  Individuals who elect to participate may be required to participate in one of four groups which requires weekly appointments for cognitive therapy.  Volunteers must be Phoenix or Scottsdale residents and able to travel by car to an appointment site near Chaparral and Scottsdale Road.  The study begins in May 2017 and concludes mid-2018.    

“We really appreciate the opportunity to work with Dr. DenBoer on this study,“ said Craig Caffarelli, CEO of Saccadous, Inc.  “When startups can work together, rather than compete, it really gives us a chance to move the needle and strengthen each other’s mission and vision.”  

Participants have the opportunity to help advance research that is potentially disruptive and has the potential to reveal ground-breaking innovation in both the diagnosis and treatment. 

For more information about this study, contact us at 1-855-B-SMART-Ø.  Ashley or Mona will assist in scheduling interested participants. 


SMART Brain Aging, Inc. is a healthcare technology company delivering research supported programs, in-person and virtually, that reduce cognitive decline in aging brains. SMART Brain Aging, Inc. was incorporated in 2016 with the backing of over seven years of dementia research and many years of design and development. The inspiration for the products we provide comes from the research of Dr. John DenBoer, clinical neuropsychologist, and is further fueled by the personal family experiences with dementia of both Dr. DenBoer and other company staff. 


Saccadous (pronounced ‘suh-KAY-dis’)  is a healthcare hardware startup dedicated to providing a non-invasive platform technology for diagnosing, tracking and advancing the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other neurological diseases. This is done through the capture and analysis of voluntary and involuntary eye-movements taken during a 5 minute eye test. 

Diagnosing Sports Concussions: There's an App for That

A number of technology startups are devising creative new ways of detecting concussions in pro and amateur athletes, using apps, tablets and sensors to monitor the often debilitating brain injury.

Trace shows us what happens to a player's brain during those hard tackles and what's being done to keep the athletes safe.

Sports organizations increasingly are looking for better concussion detection methods, and a sense of urgency has grown with the release of the 2015 film “Concussion” starring Will Smith on the problem of chronic brain injury suffered by American football players.

Although some concussions may be unavoidable in contact sports, an important concern is getting a rapid diagnosis to keep an injured player off the field, to avoid potentially severe secondary impacts. Also key is followup, to determine when a player is ready to return.

When players take a hit, “they will always say they are fine,” said Adam Gross, chief executive of Bethesda, Maryland-based startup RightEye, which has developed a one-minute eye-tracking test that helps reveal the extent of trauma to the brain.

“This is a tool that could keep parents from sending their kids (with concussions) back on the field.”

RightEye says its test — with a specially configured computer that monitors how quickly the eyes follow moving objects — can be useful for monitoring someone recovering from a concussion.

Eye movement offers insight into brain health and brain trauma, and can also help detect other disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to the company.

The service, being marketed to sports teams and eye professionals, can be used to help improve performance of athletes and others such as military marksmen.

“This can be used in the locker room, but it is more valuable in helping people recover from a concussion,” said RightEye president Barbara Barclay.

Another system designed to be used on the sidelines in sports is the King-Devick test, a tablet-based system which can be easily administered after an impact.

Steve Devick, an optometrist who helped develop the test in the 1970s as a tool to diagnose learning disabilities and later helped adapt it to diagnose concussion, calls it a “proven” detection system which can be simply administered in less than two minutes.

Players ‘obviously concussed’

Devick said many professional sports teams — including the National Football League, America’s most popular sport — still use “seat of the pants” methods for concussion diagnosis such as asking questions or requiring a player to follow finger movements.

“All NFL games will have four or five doctors on the sidelines but you can still sometimes see a player go back on the field who is obviously concussed,” he said.

Such concerns were raised at last year’s Super Bowl, when Patriots’ star Julian Edelman returned to action even after he appeared disoriented.

The NFL, which has implemented a “concussion protocol” for suspected brain trauma, announced at the start of the season it would be evaluating new technologies including from the Illinois-based King-Devick group as part of player safety efforts.

The King-Devick test requires an athlete to read single-digit numbers displayed on cards or on a tablet to test “saccadic” eye movement — very fast, almost imperceptible movements from one eye to the other — which according to research can be used to diagnose concussion and other neurological disorders.

Other systems are also being explored by tech startups.

Arizona-based startup Saccadous is developing a tablet-based system which, unlike those of RightEye and King-Devick, tracks involuntary “micro” eye movements.

“We measure 100 micro-movements to make a determination about what is going on in the brain,” said Saccadous co-founder and chief executive Craig Cafarelli

He added that using this system measuring involuntary “micro-saccades” is better than a cognitive test which can be gamed by athletes who want to return to action.

“Our goal would be to have a baseline of every player in a healthy state, so we know if we scan them again, we could compare it against the baseline,” he said.

Collegiate solutions

NCAA, the governing body for US collegiate sports, in January reached a settlement with athletes to provide $70 million for research in concussion testing.

A handful of universities have agreed to equip their American football players with helmet sensors that measure the speed, intensity and location of hits to the head as part of its concussion research. Some high school football programs also use helmet sensors.

Data collected will help improve detection and provide a foundation to improve helmet design and ratings, according to Stefan Duma, head of Virginia Tech University’s department of biomedical engineering and mechanics, which is working on the research.

The University of California at Los Angeles meanwhile is using a grant from the NCAA and the Department of Defense to use “big data” to assess concussion injuries and recovery.

The goal “is to develop scientific, evidence-based tools that will enable doctors to more accurately gauge when it is safe for an athlete to return to play,” UCLA neuroscientist Christopher Giza said in announcing the program last year.

An app for that

New York University researchers meanwhile developed an app which works with Apple’s HealthKit platform to measure signals on how a concussion patient is progressing.

By seeing daily variations in a person’s stride, heart rate and ability to concentrate, “we are no longer bound by visits to the doctor’s office,” said Paul Testa, an NYU researcher on the project and emergency room physician.

“We have so many people who scribble down symptoms on small pieces of paper, and the app takes care of that.”

Patients using the Apple Watch and iPhone can automatically provide data on progression by monitoring health signals such as gait and heart rhythms. The app is being used for NYU hospital patients as well as others around the US who download it.

Dennis Cardone, an NYU sports medicine physician who is part of the project, said the research could be applied to treatment for concussions.

“There is some evidence that possibly we’ve been wrong in putting athletes at complete rest after a concussion,” he said.

“There are some studies which suggest they may do better with a low-level activity program. So we hope to learn more with this program.”

Health Care of the Future: Eye movements reveal neurological disorders

 Saccadous co-founders Craig Caffarelli and Wiley Larsen

Saccadous co-founders Craig Caffarelli and Wiley Larsen

Phoenix Business Journal  by Angela Gonzalez

As chief architect for AT&T in Phoenix, Craig Caffarelli is a volunteer mentor at Arizona State University, both with startup companies at SkySong and with students in entrepreneurial classes at the W.P. Carey School of Business.

When he heard ASU’s Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator program was looking for some new ideas to fund, he jumped at the chance. The program made available 100 patents from ASU, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona, as well as some intellectual property from Mayo Clinic and Dignity Health.

Hungry entrepreneurs are encouraged to sift through these patents and intellectual property, which the institutions aren’t using, to come up with innovations for ASU to help fund.

Read More....


Eye Scanner could detect Alzheimer's Disease Early

by Jaime Cerreta

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--  A simple eye scan could be the key to detecting a neurological disease.

Scottsdale start-up company Saccadous developed a new eye-tracking system.

It uses a scanner about the size of a remote control that attaches to a computer, iPad or large phone.

It could find the first sign of something wrong in the brain.

Read more:

The Eyes Have it

HealthTech Insider

Stare at the period at the end of this sentence for a few seconds. Now, it may have seemed to you that your eyes were fixated on that spot, but in fact, your eyes continued to make tiny motions called “microsaccades.” These involuntary movements differ from one individual to the next. And at CES 2015, I came across a company that thinks these motions can be used in a practical way. The researchers at Saccadous have developed a way to track and analyze these little eye movements and use the results as a non-invasive way to diagnose a variety of neurological conditions.

Read more:  HealthTech Insider