uHealth, a newly released iOS app from Umoove, hopes to improve people’s concentration using eye tracking games. Can a game really help us focus better?
Between information overload and the demands of social media, staying focused can be challenging. Some may even argue that we’re living in an age of distraction where it’s increasingly impossible to focus on work. But beating distractions could be as easy and engaging as playing a game thanks to uHealth, an iOS app which launched on the App Store today. The app hopes to help people of all ages focus better using eye tracking technology.
Smartphone games to make us smarter?
While it may seem counterintuitive to improve someone’s concentration using a smartphone game, this app does just that. Using various eye tracking games, you gradually learn how to ignore distractions, focus and be more attentive. As your concentration improves you earn more points and advance to more challenging levels in the game.
The app includes two different games: Attention and Focus. Initially users will only have access to the Attention game which is designed to develop attention, listening and focus skills. Users will have to master the first level of this game for seven days before they’ll be able to move on to the next level. Only once they’ve completed the Attention game will they be able to unlock the Focus game.
Before playing, users need to position their smartphone at least 30 cm in front of them, and capture their eyes in the horizontal strip that appears on the screen. This enables the eye tracking technology to locate the person’s eyes and to start tracking eye movement. During the game users need to keep their head still and only move their eyes according to instructions they hear. This can be a bit frustrating as even slight movement of your phone will be picked up as head movement, and will lose you points.
The first level of Attention seems simple, but it can quickly become monotonous causing even the most focused people to lose concentration. The level involves moving your eyes from the blue to yellow bird according to the color you hear. You lose points and have to start again if you move your head or your eyes incorrectly. Based on your eye movements, the technology can pick up whether you’re distracted or moved preemptively. Everytime that happens, the app corrects you and draws your attention to your lack of concentration. Users should start to notice an improvement in their concentration within a few weeks.
The science behind uHealth
But uHealth is more than impressive eye tracking technology. There is a direct link between eye movement and brain activity. In fact, the app uses similar principles to those employed in vision therapy for treating concentration and attention difficulties. What makes the app standout, however, is that it makes brain training accessible to everyone without a need for expensive technology or a therapist.
“I believe this [uHealth] can bring major improvement to people who have difficulties with focus and attention. We are also beginning research to evaluate the overall behavioral effect on kids with ADHD,” Yitzi Kempinski, uHealth CEO, told Geektime.
uHealth was developed by Umoove, an Israeli startup which has been developing eye tracking technology since 2010. Last year the startup released the “Umoove Experience” game to demonstrate the company’s technology. This had over 100,000 downloads in the first few days. uHealth is the startup’s first consumer-facing app. Founded by Kempinski and Tuvia Elbaum, the startup has raised $3.25 million in funding.
uHealth is available for free download from the App Store.
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