Studies show elite athletes often have superior eye-hand coordination and visual capability. While it was long thought these benefits were gifted at birth, new technology is demonstrating you can, in fact, enhance eye-brain connectivity via targeted training. Senaptec, a Beaverton, Oreg. start-up, is bringing this vision-enhancing technology to the masses to help people see better, on the field and off.
“Your brain discards 80% of the visual information you intake, so we help individuals process more of the incoming information, and in a faster manner, to improve performance and brain health,” said Joe Bingold, Senaptec’s Chief Executive Officer. “Senaptec products are like weightlifting for your visual system. In weightlifting, you strain and break down a muscle to rebuild it stronger. Our technology relies on a similar principle, resisting vision through stroboscopic techniques, vision blocking and precision coordination drills, to help build strong new neural connections from the eye to the brain.”
A fully independent company, Senaptec’s patent-protected technology and products were spun-off from efforts originally brought to life in Nike’s research and development department under Senaptec co-founder Herb Yoo’s watch as the former Director of Innovation. The technology leverages “stroboscopic” training, harnessing strobe lights in specially-designed eyewear that is then paired with on-screen training drills for maximum benefits.
Senaptec products—including sensory assessment stations and training eyewear—have quickly been adopted as part of the emerging “sensory performance training” field. The products are already used by a long and storied list of professional and collegiate sports teams, as well as the military, and have been installed in many athletic training facilities, providing players and soldiers an opportunity to enhance visual focus, quickness, and coordination. Many optometry offices have also adopted the products to offer vision performance training to youth and amateur athletes.
On the medical and wellness side, health facilities are opting to deploy Senaptec’s products to aid with patient rehabilitation in the case of traumatic brain injuries/concussions, strokes, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. Health practitioners are also using Senaptec’s products as part of ADHD and autism therapy.
“Medical uses for our products is an emerging application and we are actively pursuing more scientific studies to fully understand the impact,” commented Bingold, an eight-year US Navy veteran, where he served as an officer for the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program. “We constantly receive calls and emails from rehabilitation patients who say our products dramatically helped with their recovery. We first started down the healthcare path when we saw our products being used to help with concussion recovery, which was an intersection between the sports and medical world, and it opened our eyes to a lot more possibilities beyond sports performance that we’re eager to explore.”
Senaptec hopes to one day see their products as commonplace in rehabilitation and geriatric facilities coast-to-coast. The technology can also be used to promote general eyesight health and mitigate vision deterioration in an aging population.
“One of the leading causes of death in the elderly population is complications from broken hips,” noted Bingold. “What causes most broken hips? Tripping and falling. With technology, we can help prevent trips and falls by helping individuals maintain visual strength, balance, and coordination between the eyes, brain and body. Wearing strobe glasses at home for 15 minutes a day to help keep your eyesight and neural connections strong. It is a simple but powerful approach to consider.”
For professional use, Senaptec offers a full Sensory Station designed for sports training and medical facilities, along with the more portable Sensory Tablet option. The full Sensory Station assesses and trains individuals on ten visual skills: visual clarity; contrast sensitivity; depth perception; near-far quickness; perception span; multiple object tracking; reaction time; target capture; eye-hand coordination and go/no-go acumen.
For individuals and health practitioners, the company sells two versions of Strobe eyewear—the $349 Senaptec Strobe and the $1,195 Quadrant Strobe—complete with a companion app. The sunglass-like eyewear is easily used at home or during sports training.
For more information on the technology or to find training facilities and medical facilities that provide vision training through Senaptec’s tools, visit www.senaptec.com.