SPEXA System Quantifies Neural Behavior Adaptability & Provides Training ProcessesGFS Corp
SPEXA is worn on the head like goggles (front view)
Points to be noted
- Original product development in collaboration with specialists
- Transform extensive software experience into pioneering device production
- Product creation to aid an ageing society
The SPEXA neural behavior adaptability quantification system is the collaborative creation of the software company GFS Co., Ltd. and Brainway Co., Ltd. Neural behavior adaptability is used to diagnose damage to the cerebellum and dementia. Until now, diagnosis was completely dependent on the opinions of doctors - there was no way to objectively record exam results as data. SPEXA addresses this issue by accurately recording numerical data that can be used for medical diagnosis, in addition to encouraging brain behavior training effects from repeated system use.
What is neural behavior adaptability?
We are naturally able to smoothly adjust our actions according to our environment and circumstances to perform appropriate movement like walking and swimming, or fine hand and arm control for grasping objects. However, it it known that behavior adaptability declines when the nerves in the cerebellum or surrounding brain tissue are impaired due to brain damage, brain disease or dementia. In the standard exam to diagnose behavior adaptability, the doctor moves their pointer finger around, asking the patient to follow and touch the doctor’s finger with their eyes open and with their eyes closed. This diagnostic test checks to see if the patient can touch the finger immediately, or if there is a gap in reaction time or location. Final judgment is completely dependent on the doctor’s own subjective observations in this situation.
We asked President Nakatsuma about the inspiration behind SPEXA. GFS Co., Ltd. primarily functions as a software development company, but when President Nakatsuma met President Katano of Brainway 2 years ago, they decided to embark on joint development of healthcare products. Using his experience as a professional researcher of brain function, President Katano is active in the business field of health care based on brain science theory.
These systems include the principles from President Katano’s research on prism adaptation tests that were found to be effective for measuring behavior adaptability.
SPEXA systems use a computer touch panel that measures the number and distance of spacial gaps when the user touches the screen, and converts those results into numerical data. President Katano asked President Nakatsuma how to utilize this data.
Test subjects sit in front of SPEXA’s computer touch panel and wear the connected goggle device. The front screen of the goggles is divided into upper and lower halves, with clear glass on top and prisms on the bottom. Holding down the switch near the ears allows the user to see the touch panel, and releasing the button hides it.
At the beginning of each test, a white circle is displayed on the touch panel. The user will need to touch that white circle, but in order to do so, the user must remove their finger from the goggle switch, which hides the touch panel. In effect, the user must rely on their spacial memory to remember the correct location of the white circle while reaching for the touch panel. At first, most users miss the location of the white circle, but repetition corrects their movements and they gradually become able to find the correct position. This test can be performed multiple times by changing the location of the white circle.
Next, the test uses the prisms on the lower half of the goggles (the prisms are flat by design, allowing light to refract horizontally). The prisms are set to shift the user’s vision by about 5cm, forcing test subjects who previously mastered the location of the white circle to miss at first, then allow the brain’s corrective function to perform again through repetition. This process has 5 levels with different conditions, measuring and recording location correction and number of repetitions as numeric data.
【Video】SPEXA Training Introduction
There are two types of SPEXA system services: one type is cloud compatible, and the other is not. Cloud service allows users to upload test data to cloud memory to share information with other facilities.
Plans for the future include rental options for university hospitals, neurology clinics, and public research facilities in the Tokyo area. One purpose of offering rentals is to collect feedback from clients to make updates and improve usability.
“Research results have shown that brain function can be improved at any age. This means that we can expect results of behavior adaptability improvement through repetitions of SPEXA training. We hope to restore function without needing any medication. We want to continue making products like this in collaboration with Brainway,” says President Nakatsuma. There are already several projects in progress. The potential for these projects will expand further as Japan becomes a super-aged society.
GFS is eager to make more systems in partnership with medical facilities, research institutions, and other companies.
Interview Date: October 25, 2018
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