Published On: Sun, Mar 15th, 2015

Israel’s Technion Finds Way to Use Eyelid Movement to Fight Disease

“Eyelid motion provides us with meaningful information about the health status of a patient.”

rapid eye movement

The Eyelid Motion Monitor (EMM) developed at Technion’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering which can be used in the diagnosis of different diseases based on eyelid movement, has entered the clinical trials phase.

It has also achieved another milestone: a prototype of the EMM device, developed at Technion’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, is in the infant stages of clinical trials on human subjects at the Emek Medical Center, after receiving the ethics committee approval.

This remarkable project was developed by doctoral student Adi Hanuka, who began to work on it during her undergrad degree. She is currently a doctoral student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering supervised by Prof. Levi Schachter.

Already in its development phase, the project won several international awards, and recently won the top 20 teams at the international Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge Contest.

“Eyelid motion provides us with meaningful information about the health status of a patient, ” explains Hanuka. “It can indicate, for example, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease. At the request of Dr. Daniel Briscoe, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Emek Medical Center, we developed a device that can be installed on standard refraction glasses used in eye tests.”

Both hardware and software systems are installed on these glasses to detect the wearer’s eyelid movements, and interpret them according to the magnetic field generated by two tiny magnets fitted on the upper eyelids. The EMM project is conducted at the High Speed Digital Systems Laboratory (HS-DSL) located in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering; the software (Eyelidpro) was developed by two electrical engineering students.

Adi Hanuka was born in the city of Nesher in 1987. She served in the Intelligence Corps in the IDF, achieving the rank of officer. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Technion within the framework of the Technion Excellence Program, and graduated with exceptionally high grades. Hanuka is also a graduate of the first cohort of the EE-EMET Program (an excellence program teaching technological and scientific knowledge in the areas of electronics, computers and communication run by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering).

“Existing devices operate on energy from big and expensive accelerators, and this radiation also damages healthy tissue. Our vision is to develop a compact accelerator that would be relatively inexpensive and which could be employed also in small clinics, with a capacity for direct targeted radiation to the tumor site.”

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