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Waterloo startup develops smart glasses that act as brain fitness tracker

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It’s often said the eyes are the window to the soul, but for a Waterloo-based startup, the eyes are the window to your brain.

Adhawk Microsystems, has developed MindLink Air, a personal fitness tracker for the brain. The smart glasses are meant for everyday wear and track virtual eye movement to better understand brain health.

“We can measure how hard you're thinking, how focused you are and how easily you're distracted,” said Neil Sarkar, AdHawk CEO.

The smart glasses are camera-free, weigh less than 40 grams and the custom sensor that powers the technology is hidden inside the frame.

“We use it to scan a beam of light across your eye thousands of times per second and then capture reflections from it to model all kinds of things about your eyes,” Sarkar explained.

The MindLink Air glasses monitor indicators such as blink frequency, blink speed, and pupil dilation. These subtle cues provide users with real-time insights into their eye strain, focus levels, and mental fatigue, allowing for proactive adjustments to their daily routines.

“When you’ve got a headache or your eyes hurt, at that point it's probably too late,” said Adhawk user experience lead, Matthew Reynolds, emphasizing the preventive aspect.

Beyond enhancing personal wellness, Adhawk envisions MindLink Air contributing significantly to medical research and treatment.

“For the elderly who are at risk of cognitive decline, this is the first time that you're going to have a piece of hardware that's able to measure your cognitive function over the course of days, months and years,” said Sarkar.

Looking ahead, Adhawk plans to develop a version of MindLink Air tailored for children. Prototypes of the glasses have already been sold to researchers for $10,000, with a $300 starting price point set for the public through Adhawk's upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

“We’re finally at the point where our technology is mature and is ready to be deployed at scale. We've developed a semi-conductor supply chain that can produce about 10,000 of our devices on a single wafer,” said Adhawk CFO, Sandro Banerjee.

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