PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Vestibular First, a Philadelphia-based health-tech startup, is hosting a Live Streaming Launch Event on January 21st, 2021 for its patented Insight Infrared Video Goggles. These new FDA cleared goggles help clinicians cost-effectively differentiate various causes of dizziness and balance disorders. Vestibular First has identified a significant unmet need in the medical field for affordable, high-quality assessment tools in large part because of co-founder Helena Esmonde, PT, DPT, NCS. Esmonde was looking to purchase infrared video goggles but found the price point of existing options to be impossibly expensive for small private practice clinicians. She mentioned the problem to her husband, Patrick Esmonde, MSE, and the couple began prototyping a low-cost alternative that relied on components from the burgeoning VR headset space. The research version of the goggles alone has now helped over an estimated half-million patients. Two-years later, the couple has not only tested and refined a breakthrough product but has also attained FDA clearance for their powerful new diagnostic device.
"It's really been a whirlwind journey so far," says Helena, "and with this new launch we are just getting started. We've been very lucky to work with a talented group of clinicians, researchers, and thought leaders who provided amazing feedback throughout the entire process. And I didn't know when I married Patrick that he would be my perfect match professionally as well as in love. I'm so lucky that he has the know-how to help make my dreams of improving access to vestibular technology a reality!"
Improved diagnosis and treatment of balance and dizziness disorders is a pressing problem, especially with the aging US population. According to the CDC, about 36 million older adults fall each year, equating to almost one fall every second. One out of every five falls causes an injury, such as broken bones or a concussion. In addition, approximately 69 million Americans have experienced some form of vestibular (or inner ear balance system) dysfunction, and the assessment process for that is usually costly, including testing such as MRI studies that in some cases are unnecessary. In a recent study, 3.9 million emergency care visits for vestibular care resulted in 3.9 billion USD total costs - on average $1004 per patient and visit.
The affordable Insight Infrared Video Goggles use infrared cameras to display a patient's eyes on a connected computer and allow a clinician to conduct a differential diagnosis between central (brain) and peripheral (inner ear) vestibular disorders. The innovative design is modular, paving the way for future technology. Different diagnostic tools are planned for development, so that they can be swapped on and off of the base unit, providing a flexible pathway for clinics to purchase the technology they need without having to buy a whole new system for each test. Some of the future upgrades that the team envisions include target-based oculomotor (eye motor control) testing such as saccades and smooth pursuit, a treatment-focused unit for balance games and visual motion sensitivity care, eye-tracking analysis, and pediatric-sized components.
"We listened very closely to feedback from our testers of the research goggles," notes Patrick. "It was important to engineer a system that was not only robust and accurate but also easy to use in a clinical setting. That's why we implemented many unique features such as a quick-release strap to allow clinicians to easily remove the goggles with one hand and a removable front cover that allows the patient to be repositioned without removing the entire headset."
The price point of these new goggles, several orders of magnitude less than previous devices, is also noteworthy. Patrick explained, "It was critical that these new goggles be affordable and universally compatible, so we really took that into consideration throughout the entire design and manufacturing process. I'm happy that with our extensive beta-testing, we have always been successful in getting our goggles to work with any clinician's computer and operating system. This allows clinicians flexibility in their technology selection, allowing everyone to make independent choices for what works best for their clinical environment. I'm also happy to report that by collaborating with manufacturing professionals, we have managed to keep the costs very low, savings which we can pass on to our customers. We have already heard multiple times that customers can now afford goggles for all of their sites—not just one! This is a huge win for patients and clinicians alike."
The system is designed to be paired with a popular open-source video program called Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). In order to balance the need for high quality video display and compatibility, the minimum specifications can be found on any entry-level computer: 8GB of RAM and an i5 processor or better. The cameras run on proven USB 2.0 connections to increase compatibility with older computers. The goggles also come with a 3-year warranty, and customer service is provided by clinical and technical experts who are truly invested in optimizing the client and patient experience.
"I have been using the Vestibular First infrared video goggles in my clinic and find them excellent. Because of the low cost I will not hesitate to upgrade my existing video goggles to Vestibular First as needed over time and will be able to equip more exam rooms. I have recommended them to many physicians and PTs who have come to see patients with me. The software platform is very capable and has allowed me to save exams in a way that is easy to recover for review, editing, and teaching. This product will make a higher level of care available to the many underserved patients with balance disorders." - Michael Teixido, MD
The upcoming Vestibular First Launch event is scheduled for Thursday, January 21st at 4:00 PM EST and will feature an interview and discussion with the founders on the unexpected origins of the company, their streamlined product development path, a full walk-thru of the features of the Insight Infrared Video Goggles, and the bold next steps for their company.
Note: Five registrants of the live Launch Event will be selected randomly to win a FREE Fluid-Filled Vestibular Anatomy model ($125 value)! For individuals who can't attend the live session, an on-demand session will also be made available.
To reserve your FREE spot at the upcoming Live Stream Event, please visit:
For more information about Vestibular First's Insight Infrared Video Goggles, please visit https://vestibularfirst.com/store/infrared-goggles/
Contact: [email protected], (484) 686-4709
SOURCE Vestibular First