Difficulty concentrating? There's an app for that now, thanks to an Israeli start-up.
Jerusalem-based Umoove released an app last week, named "uHealth," which helps smartphone users improve their attention spans and concentration through eye-tracking.
The direct relationship between eye movements and brain activity as well as various vision based therapies have been backed by many scientific studies conducted over the past decades, but this is the first time a mobile app has promised to deliver that therapy directly to patients through their smartphones, according to the company.
Founded in 2010, Umoove developed software that tracks face and eye movements on any mobile device, despite dynamic and challenging mobile environments. Umoove requires no additional hardware add-on and functions at a low CPU of less than 10% on modern devices.
Last year the company opened signup for its SDK (software development kit) and released the “Umoove Experience” game, as a showcase to its face-tracking technology, which in the first few days had over 100,000 downloads.
Since 2014, third-party developers and companies have been working with Umoove to develop new products for healthcare and gaming; it has raised $3.25 million in funding and has filed for over twenty patents. uHealth is the company’s first product based on its eye tracking technology to hit the market.
According to Dr. Herman Weiss, Umoove’s VP Healthcare, uHealth is particularly meant for close to half of the population, which struggles with various levels of focus and attention difficulties.
“There is strong evidence to support these exercises as a therapeutic intervention”, said Dr. Weiss. “Until now the only limitation was the heavy cost requirement of a high level therapist and technology to administer the tests.”
For the first time, however, the same therapy will be made available to the masses – and turn a major distraction into a tool, according to the company's founders.
"We are essentially taking the biggest distracter in our modern world, our smartphones and tablets, and turning them into a tool to improve focus and attention,” said Umoove’s co-founder and CEO Yitzi Kempinski.
“The eyes are a window to the brain, we intend uHealth to include in the future various apps that utilize Umoove eye tracking to diagnose, track and improve brain activity," he added.
The app debuted in the Apple iOS app store last Monday and is currently available for iPhone.