President Barron applauds undergraduate work on concussion screening

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric J. Barron made a stop at the Center for Sport Concussion Research and Service to view firsthand the work being done by undergraduate students on a cutting-edge device used to screen for concussion.

The Reflexion “Edge” is comprised of six identical panels of LED touch screens that can test for brain injury by measuring reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and other cognitions, and converting those responses into standardized data. It was developed by health policy and administration major and Schreyer Honors Scholar Matthew Roda, and his company, Reflexion Interactive Technologies, of which he is CMO.

Matthew Roda Edge

Matthew Roda and his company, Reflexion Interactive Technologies, developed the “Edge,” to help screen athletes for concussion. 

Image: Pat Mansell

“I think our students have a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial spirit and attitude and it’s really important that the University foster it,” Barron said of Roda’s work. “We’ve got a huge amount of intellectual property coming out of this university because of bright, hard-working students and bright, hard-working faculty, so if we can put them together we can do wonderful things for society.”

Reflexion is working on a clinical study headed by Semyon Slobounov, professor of kinesiology and neurosurgery and the director of the Center for Sport Concussion Research and Service in the College of Health and Human Development.

To use the Edge, a subject stands in front of the board and is prompted to touch lights as they flash rapidly across the panels. In one test, a user must focus his or her eyes on one point on the board while being tasked with touching lights as they appear and disappear, using only peripheral vision.

Barron said this new technology could be life-changing for athletes.

“Think of how valuable this is for society, for all the young men and women who are prone to concussion because of their athletic gifts,” he said. “This is really important for their well-being. This is going to have really a positive impact.”

Mike Reflexion Edge

Mike DeGaetano, research coordinator for the Center for Sport Concussion Research and Service, displays how the Edge works by moving his finger across the board. 

Image: Pat Mansell

These screening tests take anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute each, Roda said. To get the best results, athletes should be tested once a week. This would provide researchers with a base of a subject’s cognitive capabilities, and pick up on changes that could be missed by not screening regularly, he said.

The next step in Roda’s work is to finish software development for the Edge and conduct clinical studies with Slobounov.

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Last Updated April 25, 2017