Blink Lab – A Simple, Low Cost, Non-Invasive Tool for Use in Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Web Published:
1/29/2021
Description:

Blink Lab – A Simple, Low Cost, Non-Invasive Tool

For Use in Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Docket # 21-3740

 

Researchers in the Neuroscience Department at Princeton University have created a smartphone-based application that enables performing neurobehavioral tests, including but not limited to eyeblink conditioning. Eyeblink conditioning is a form of Pavlovian conditioning and is widely used in neuroscience to study mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation. Currently, eyeblink conditioning in humans requires expensive and dedicated hardware and software in a permanent environment. Moreover, data acquisition and analysis require quite extensive programming skills, and performing high-throughput parallel experiments requires a well-organized and clever database management system. 


Blink Lab, a mobile phone application to perform eyeblink conditioning remotely using the user’s own cell phone, will surmount these challenges. Blink Lab is a ‘total care’ package that alleviates potential users from the requirement of technical skills and extensive programming and enables reliable and reproducible eyeblink conditioning experiments for scientific, medical, and personal use. Another major advantage of the app is the fact that no equipment needs to be attached to the face, which is especially advantageous for infants and autistic patients.


Eyeblink conditioning is affected in various neurological and psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and Fragile-X syndrome, which opens up the possibility to use eyeblink conditioning as a simple, low-cost, and non-invasive diagnostic tool or evaluation parameter for testing therapeutic measures.  
 

Applications:

•    Therapy evaluation for neurodevelopmental disorders
•    Diagnostic tool for neuro-psychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia
•    Research tool in neuroscience and psychology to study mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation
•    Educational tool for any individual who is interested in his/her own brain functioning

Advantages: 

•    Cost and time effective to set up 
•    Delivery of reliable and reproducible results
•    Easy to operate – does not require extensive programming or data analysis skills to use 
•    User friendly for infants and autistic patients – no face attachments needed

 

Stage of Development

A prototype has been built and tested in-house on 13 participants. Data is available upon reasonable request. The inventors have contracted a professional application development company to further build the Blink Lab app.

 

Inventors

Henk-Jan Boele graduated from Erasmus University Rotterdam with an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. He is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Wang Lab in the Department of Neuroscience at Princeton University and interested in brain development and cerebellar learning mechanisms.

Samuel S.-H. Wang is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. He graduated with his B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1993. He conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center and then at Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. Prof. Wang's lab investigates how brains learn from sensory experience, in adulthood and development, with relevance for autism. His lab is particularly curious about the cerebellum’s role in cognition and social thought processes.

 

Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending.
Industry collaborators are sought to further develop and commercialize this technology.

 

Contacts

Laurie Tzodikov
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-7256• tzodikov@princeton.edu 

Isla Xi Han
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • xihan@princeton.edu 

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Laurie Tzodikov
Licensing Associates
Princeton University
tzodikov@Princeton.EDU
Inventors:
Samuel Wang
Henk-Jan Boele
Keywords: